Rituals of Practice
Travis Ash, in 'He Dreamed a Train', Brisbane Powerhouse, weaving magic as he retells his version of the Myth of Er
Photo by Stephen Henry
I have seen quite a bit of Brisbane theatre lately, both mainstage and independent, and have enjoyed the joy and passion on stage. There is something infectious when an actor is delighting their audience, their fellow cast members and themselves. But there are many types of actors and each one of us requires a slightly different process, not only within the rehearsal period but also for each and every performance that we create over and over again.
"How do you learn all those lines?" is no longer a 'thing', but what can emerge within the actor is a discontent regarding one's performance. What may have worked easily in rehearsal suddenly becomes empty or hollow. The actor becomes super critical of themselves.
My advice? STOP IT!
We are not that important! We are the vessel for the MUSE to visit, it is that simple. So next time we step out onto the stage, the place where we belong, lets remember, that we are much bigger than this body of ours, this voice of ours, this spirit of ours. We have thousands of artistic ancestors who have gone before, and we have a duty to our lineage. Our duty is to be an open channel so that the MUSE can work their magic.
Trust the MUSE, even if you do not trust yourself.
And for all those wonderfully brave Anywhere Theatre Participants, I am sending you a big fat chookas. Do your best. Stop critiquing yourself! That should be left in the rehearsal room and after ever performance. Not during. And make sure you engage with what I am calling your own 'rituals of practice', so that you stay healthy and safe. My rituals include tea, stillness, classical music and gentle conversation. What many theatre makers do not understand, is that we have just embarked on a journey of mamouth proportions. Our emotional life has been ruptured, just like our character. So let's gently process this rupture, and in doing so, deepen our understanding of ourselves and others. The actor has the potential to be a very realised human being, allow that potential to unveil itself.
The theatre is a wonderful beast. Respect its power and you will be able to achieve what right now, may seem impossible. Tell the story. Tell the story. Tell the story.