Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Self, Psyche, and Art: A Heady Mix

Is how we express ourselves onstage a reflection of who we are, what we want to be, or who we once were?

I suppose it could be all of these things after a fashion. Sometimes I find myself making choices onstage that I would run from in life. Surprisingly enough, in making those bold moves, I find it therapeutic in the sense that in having “practiced” being bold, I become more assured.

In scenes, there are times when I find myself in an onstage/rehearsal situation where I’m reliving a scene from my past and I can make different choices. Surprisingly, I will often take the same approaches to solving the problem. However, when I make a different choice than what would naturally arise from my normal perspective, I feel something within my psyche shift a little. It changes how I see things in life. After all, it might not be so bad to tell someone to "F--k off!" once in awhile.

Perhaps my art does affect my life in greater measures than I might realize.

In the movie,“Bullets Over Broadway”, Woody Allen seems to be speaking through one of his characters by having them say the line, “An artist creates his own moral universe.” In art, we can do whatever we want. But do our choices that we make in life influence the art that we will make? Art cannot exist in a vacuum. The inspiration for the choices we make has to come from somewhere.

Can we separate who we are as artists from the choices we make in creating art? As David Mamet says, we, the artist, cannot take on or put off character as though it is a costume, Therefore, when we make art that has us making choices that stray from our “selves”, are we just veiling the truth?

Although I would not necessarily abandon my family in pursuit of a dream, or dance a jig on the desk over the death of a tyrannical boss, it might do me good to realize that it might be beneficial to own that darker aspect in myself. That with the greatest potential for good also lives an equal measure of negativity.

Perhaps this is the well from which we draw both the good and the ill that fills the stage. I would venture to say that that the more we have within us, the more we can share with our audience. Again, the choice remains if the artist is willing to be vulnerable enough to put it out there in the first place.

1 comment:

Mr. Nighttime said...

"We respond to a drama to that extent to which it corresponds to our dreamlife." - David Mamet"