There is no one going to watch theater anymore. What needs to be done? This troubling question was posed by Peter Brook in the early 70’s. The same question is evermore present today.
With a current stream of images, texts, statements continuously being transmitted to the viewer, the spectator, is there any need of theater in the daily life of people today?
The place for profound wonder has been taken from us. Taken by who? Taken by us. The Madman exclaimed, “I am looking for God? He is dead! We have killed him!” Indeed we might have, unwittingly, killed him… Perhaps the same could be said of the art of theater. The time and space for wonder has been replaced with different needs. But what was once at the heart of men’s doubt, and thus needs, does not die so easily. Silently, it lays there, longing to be revived – resuscitated so to speak.
Resuscitation, indeed. It is at this the arrow points it dart. The will and desire of the restless man can cause such a turmoil in the hearts of others that, unknowingly, he is the one drawing the bow, releasing the arrow to seek out its own target.
Definitions narrow the scope of wonder and can sometimes act as a blocking force to what is really at hand. Definitions arrive through methods, methods that are necessary; methods of speech, thinking, moving, giving, existing. All can be said to act according to a method. The method that transforms itself can avoid being held back by definitions, since its shape-shifting character discourages the Definition, this method can thrive in its changeability.
The method that we try to touch upon, dream of and long for is a method of the actor facing his or her own core of being. Letting the internal flow of creation that resides within each performer to be caught by the director and guided through the minefield of personal achievement and Ego to, hopefully, reach the other shore where Ego and the Persona has vanished and what is left is pure creativity, pure emotion, pure movement and most importantly pure intensity. This is what we long for. We are still travelers and will probably never reach a definite destination.
The process can be likened to the philosophical suicide of which Albert Camus spoke. It does not merely suffice to recognize the “empty waste-lands”, one has to stay there and explore the limits of each fear, joy, illusion and reality. By driving the point of examination to its very limit a break-through might happen. The limit-concepts of death, life, sexuality; the rituals of life, are all imbued in our every-day understanding of life. Meanwhile the philosopher might sit and think things through, lingering in the wastelands on the train of thought, the performer has his or her own body to carry him or her to the limits of death and creation. In each piece of theater a single idea, word, emotion, can carry within it an infinite world of its own. Without the need of being explained by rational thought a piece of theater can speak directly to the viewer. A one-piece act can tell a thousand words without a sound being heard or suggested. The exercised spontaneity of the performer has the capacity of seeing and taking hold of the mute moment which resonates with him- or herself and in equal measures with the viewer.