Shaman vs. Spectator


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Theory of Spectatorship
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Theatre Theory Pages
"Man ... is the most imitative (mimetikotaton) of all animals and he learns his first lessons through mimicry (dia mimesos)." Aristotle, Poetics

The paradox:
Public Solitude: "It is almost unnecessary to remark that the artistic achievement of real actors is always bound by the concentration of attention to the action of their own performance, and that when in that condition, i.e. just when the actor's attention is taken away from the spectator, he gains a particular power over the audience, grips it, and compels it to take an active share in his artistic existence." Stanislavsky (Direction and Acting)


"In the essay "Art As Life," Ell Siegel writes: "Our lives are a making one of difference and sameness. Within the I is a tremendous presence of something utterly different, something akin to everything." Acting shows that this is true. Tommaso Salvini, the great 19th-century Italian actor, observed that he had to be in sympathy with every character he played. "One may sympathize even with a villain, and yet remain an honest man."
And there are sameness and difference within every character. Moods and aspects, subtleties and variations are in each role we play. No person is 'just one way. But both actor and audience must believe that the character in Act I is the same in Act 111, however different that character becomes.
The Possessed
"One of the most important ideas that I have learned from Eli Siegel is that one's purpose as a self and one's purpose as an actress must be the same. Purpose is not taught in acting schools. It should be. We actors would like to have a reason for acting which we can respect. Very often we don't know our reasons, and think if we did know them, we wouldn't like them. Actors, like other artists, are subject to the great danger of using their art to be superior to and contemptuous of the "ordinary world," including the audiences one hopes so much to impress! Aesthetic Realism is the first body of knowledge to give an aesthetic criterion for distinguishing between good and bad purposes in art and in life." [ * Anne Fielding ]
* one act fest
In his 1951 lecture on acting, Siegel says: "This possibility of loving the world that we have through acting is much worthy of study. . . . Since a human being is a compound of is and might, a compound of what's before him and what can be imagined, in all sincerity we have an element that is like acting. Everybody wants to be himself, and that means being other things besides oneself." []


... Ell Siegel told me what I heard from no acting teacher before: that I was trying to complete myself through difference. He said: "Acting shows that you don't have to be fettered to yourself. You can be other people. . . . The big question is whether acting helps you to find out who you are or to get away from who you are."

"It was soon after graduating from Performing Arts that I began to study Aesthetic Realism, and I was asked questions every actor needs to be asked. My feelings about acting, good and bad, were described, criticized, clarified. I felt: This is me." [*]


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"I divided myself, as it were, into two personalities. One continued as an actor, the other was an observer. Strangely enough this duality not only did not impede, it actually promoted my creative work. It encouraged and lent impetus to it." Stanislavsky (Building a Character)

As always, the silent majority is ignored. The spectator doesn't act, direct or write. We are so busy on stage that we forgot to write a book about him -- the black hole, the place where the light is born.

Theatre Space asks for darkness. Only once I went to see Shakespeare in the Central Park. The nature is too distractive, even the night sky is too much! How can I create a new world without blocking out the existing one? I need walls and celling!

I do not direct "happenings"!

On your right is a typical floor plan ... of a church. Do you see the three familiar zones -- house, stage and back stage (including wings)?

That's where Theatre was for almost one thousand years, known as "Dark Ages"! Yes, our indoor proscenium stage was developed at that time. (Usually, we look at the Greeks, although the Romans understood them better and made a stadium out of the open-air theaters). Drama can't be developed further outdoors, it asked for its own architecture, not just a place under the sun.

The real backstage is missing even in Shakespearean times. In my view, the real spectators didn't exist till now. Yes, those 5% of Americans, who went to theatre at least one time, are the spectators... because they went to theatre!

Before it was a place for news, social interaction, near square-street entertainment...

See Spectatorship Concept at Doubles -- Spectator and Mirror Effect. More in POV -- the phenomena of watching. Also, Self Files at Tripod (deep theory directory)


PS. The best is to present Spectatorship through the phenomena of watching film. Here is our spectator is really naked, here he is at WORK. Busy, busy! Putting together shots and cuts, angles and themes... Working like a machine!

No, my friends, the screen is not flat -- there is an enormous machine behind it, much bigger than in any theatrical production. Just look at the list of credits!

There are no bad spectators, only bad movies. Nature doesn't creat "bad" public (there is no "bad" weather, too -- FYI).

Stanislavsky said that actor must die in his character, director -- in his actors, writer -- in his characters... We all must die in our public!

We die in order for spectacle to be born.

The last, the final performer of this phenomena is you, the spectator.

Should I say -- First?

I should. Motivation/Task (Vasiliev): oe e cao c py oe -- ocooo co ec po.

pee "e" ycaaaec: e cc ocooo co -- oa opeec e poe ( peoex ex), p oo oopa ecx ec yoc aa, aep o e epcoae aa ecoa epee aox epcoae, epee e epeycpoca pa.
Lesson #
60 or 90 min

1. review (previous class)

2. overview

3. new key terms & definitions

4. monologues & scenes

5. issues & topics

6. questions, discussion, analysis

7. in class work

8. feedback

9. improv & games

10. reading

11. homework

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13. quiz



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Next: spectacle
Vasiliev: a, ece c o "cae" ca oaac oya, o c oao cyae yp ocoa ooo pa.

epyc pae e poe ec y aoo. Teep ce o opaeo epe-apyy cepxy-yp, aep oe ooc e ce -- a aa, e ype ea po. o ype ea po ao-o opoo, y oopo o ec e. Aep oe ac o coo e po o yy, coepa ee oo, o oo e eeo, a oo ypeeo. oaeo coa ca, py c ype eae po.

Haoe oy coooo aepa: epeaeo, yc-yeo, paeo cpyypo , o ec e e; oa po, yaca eaopecoo pocpaca eceoc.

o oe co y e, e . oa ocee o a o y, ae, o cycce pa aepy eae ca aep. eoe oa e coe ocooc o caoo ce, cea xoe paccaa po caoo ce , paccaa po caoo ce, cea axc e, e o ca. ae, o ooe o: epcoa -- pae. epcoa -- o, o ece -- a y paeo, oe poo coo, coo oe epcoa ec, e oee. aaaec c ocee oo ec. eoe oae, yepcaee, ey coceo ooe coa, ocoa, pee cop, o xoe ce pa cpay, aa, o oo epcoa. apaoc o, o, aac oo epcoae, . -- , .

M o oc ax poecco, -- ca ycoa, copya. oa epcoa, ooo e ey, oycac, oo eca, oop aca (a o e-y, ye e ao!). Taa. Peccep, pyoo eapa pya, oope opeee coo "aca", pae a ce pae y: ae x -- peccep a eao aepo, oeceoe o a opaoae, --peccep oece a coee cea, ep pee. aco o e ec oece a opeeee eoo, eoc py.

Cpaa ce ac: e ceye oo c pax oee, y oace oeceoc oo e, o peccep -- pyooe aca oaae poopey cya?

ee: e cococye o ce ao co c ey aepo peccepo, o oa caoc epapo yeae? To ec a c eae py ae eoo yaoe, eacoe cyecoae oex eo py.

Anatoly Vasiliev about directing and director. [RAT 1 Files, Russian American Theatre Project Archives]

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Book of Spectator is mostly about "Actor 3" [level three]. There are two versions : & [web-edition].