Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for the ‘Theater’ Category

Quote of the Day

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I conceive theatre as a magical operation or ceremony, and I shall strive to restore to it its primitive ritual character, by contemporary modern means, and as comprehensibly as possible to everyone…I believe it is urgent, for the theatre, to become aware once and for all of what distinguishes it from written literature. However transient it is, theatrical art is based on the use of space, on expression in space, and, speaking strictly, the fixed arts, inscribed in stone, on canvas or on paper, are not necessarily the most valid, nor the most efficacious magically.

Antonin Artaud, in a letter to Comœdia

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September 19, 2018 at 7:30 am

Quote of the Day

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There is only one thing that can lure our creative will and draw it to us and that is an attractive aim, a creative objective…The objective is the lure for our emotions. This objective engenders outbursts of desires for the purpose of creative aspiration. It sends inner messages which naturally and logically are expressed in action. The objective gives a pulse to the living being of a role.

Constantin Stanislavski, Creating a Role

Written by nevalalee

September 18, 2018 at 7:30 am

The glass-bottomed boat

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For me the process is personal and private—like water divining. But the discoveries, the images I find should be clear and common archetypes. I think at some point, whether you use Jungian phraseology or not, at some point you’re looking down into the Collective Unconscious through your own subconscious. Like a glass-bottomed boat, and the artist is floating around letting people see down into the images. The job of the artist is to have antennae to pick it up and reveal it, articulate it for other people to read. It is to objectify his subjective experience in a form that’s accessible to the majority. Our job, or the job of any artist, I would submit, who works publicly, is to find the images that are the pegs a lot of other people connect with.

John Fox, “How Welfare State’s Events are Commissioned, Conceived and Carried Out”

Written by nevalalee

September 16, 2018 at 7:30 am

Siegfried in the forest

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Let us take as an example the second act of Siegfried. How should we present a forest on stage? First let us be clear on this point: is it a forest with characters, or rather characters in a forest? We are in the theatre to be present at a dramatic action; so something happens in this forest which obviously cannot be expressed by painting. Here then is our starting point: certain people do such and such, say such and such, in a forest. To create our scenery, we do not have to try and see a forest; we should be picturing to ourselves in detail and in sequence all the acts that take place in that forest…The staging of the scene thus becomes the composing of a picture in time; instead of starting out from a painting commissioned by whoever from whoever, and then afterwards leaving the actor the paltry installations we know about, we start from the actor: it is acting and its artistry we wish to highlight; we are ready to sacrifice everything for that.

It will be Siegfried here, Siegfried there; and never, the tree for Siegfried, the path for Siegfried. I repeat, we no longer seek to create the illusion of a forest, but rather the illusion of a man in the atmosphere of a forest; the reality here is the man, besides which no other illusion counts. Everything must be destined for him, the whole text must join to create around him the atmosphere indicated, and if we let Siegfried out of sight for an instant and lift our gaze, the scenic picture necessarily has no more illusion to give us. Its arrangement has no other end but Siegfried; and when the forest, softly stirred by the breeze, attracts Siegfried’s gaze, we, the spectators, watch Siegfried bathed in moving light and shadow, and not cut-out scraps set in motion by strings.

Adolphe Appia, “How to Reform Our Staging Practices”

Written by nevalalee

September 15, 2018 at 7:30 am

Quote of the Day

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Working-class audiences like laughs; middle-class audiences in the theatre tend to think laughter makes the play less serious. On comedy working-class audiences are rather more sophisticated. Many working-class people spend a lot of their lives making jokes about themselves and their bosses and their world as it changes. So the jokes that a working-class audience likes have to be good ones, not old ones; they require a higher level of comic skill.

John McGrath, A Good Night Out

Written by nevalalee

September 13, 2018 at 7:30 am

Quote of the Day

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Drama is such a normal thing. It has been made into an abnormal thing by all the fussy leotards, hairdos, and stagecraft that is associated with it. All it demands is that children shall think from within a dilemma instead of talking about the dilemma. That’s all it is; you bring them to a point where they think from within the framework of choices instead of talking coolly about the framework of choices. You can train people to do this in two minutes, once they are prepared to accept it.

Dorothy Heathcote, “Drama as a Process for Change”

Written by nevalalee

September 12, 2018 at 7:30 am

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Quote of the Day

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I was always under the impression that puppeteers and circus people are closest to God and mankind because they don’t deal with false gold, because they carry their gifts in their hands, they make fun, they point out some things and not much more, and I think that God likes that attitude better than the ordinarily pretty messed up human ambitions, the complicated ways of heartbreaking compositions, or the withholding and condensing intellect.

Peter Schumann, “Problems Concerning Puppetry”

Written by nevalalee

September 10, 2018 at 7:30 am

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