Maintaining Mysticism Part 2



One of the great things about theater is that there are many ways to do it, plain and simple. Creativity is in the heart of performance, and some of the best plays (or versions of) are ones that throw a curve ball. For example, a Shakespearean play set in the future, or a play where everyone monologues and you have to find out the setting and story as you go (interesting read” Elephant’s Graveyard. Not particularly strong, but fascinating how its all done straight to the audience, with barely any dialogue.)

So how does one capture that magic that makes theater so unique? It is hard nowadays, when you have ensembles that are nearby in location try to do the same plays as their counterparts. Or that you have a great space and a great ensemble, but all they do is Brecht. Don’t get me wrong, I like Brecht, but Brecht all day…

So you have to stand out, have to be unique…but how? I hear a lot of actors say that when you get up onstage, you bear it all, don’t hold back. Just let everything flow out of you, like a river or emotion. Have you ever known someone who, whenever they get off stage, they seem to have run a marathon? My question is: why not hold back? I think it’s great when someone throws everything they got into their role; it’s phenomenal to see. However, I think the most special moments are when the dust settles, and the performer gives just a little bit more.

It’s quieter, more subtle. Like he was saving this little piece of himself, or that she has this special part of her that no one should see- but you get to take a peek, get a glimpse of that secret. That, is the mysticism. It’s that little extra, that two more inches beyond the goal line; we are already there, but when you get that little sumpin sumpin…

Like buying a used car, and then finding out that someone left fifty bucks in the glove box (sweeeeeeet). It’s part of why the magician David Blaine is so popular. Not only are his tricks insanely good, but he also tries to go above and beyond. We could all be satisfied with how he is able to barf up a live fish…but then to swallow it back down? Above and beyond.

So save a little. You still have to show it all, don’t get me wrong- that’s the basis of being an actor, the ability and willingness to bare everything. Just don’t do it all at once. Leave them wanting more, then give it to them. But make em wait.

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