Aphorisms (2)


1) There is always a different way of doing something.
2) You have never looked at any (2)thing until you have turned it around and around.


The human capacity to judge without justification should always be uppermost in the actor’s critical consciousness. When portraying a character one should always ask: in what way does my character mislead him or herself?
Self-deception is the most human of qualities and the most ubiquitous.


Alienation techniques are more appropriate for the anti-cinema actor. Contradiction is our most potent tool but the ultimate aim is for lucidness. The best that I am showing you is filtered through my own soul, but only so that you can perceive it more clearly because more objectively. The actor shold never forget that theirs is an objectifying role designed to create clarity in the transmission of the original idea.


Voice and gesture should not just demonstrate text but also desire or will. A smile rising out of a depression is not the same as the smile of happiness.


The soul of all art lies with its musicality. The writer must hear the music in his phrase and feel the sound of each word, the painter and sculptor, or designer, must hear the music in the forms, the director must understand the symphonic nature of what is being created, the dancer must feel the music in his or her body, the actor must live in the symphony.


2 thoughts on “Aphorisms (2)

  1. “Self-deception is the most human of qualities and the most ubiquitous.”
    In an attempt at self-improvement, I considered addressing this issue: in what way am I deceiving myself? I didn’t get far, it quickly became too painful, before I had even identified the cause of the pain, beyond that of the introspection itself.
    Instead I came to the question: is there any escape from this? At least to some degree? So many people describe themselves as “my own worst critic”; how else then can we get up in the morning, and put ourselves out into the world, and have the temerity to offer our opinion or write our CV – without first indulging (at least to some extent) in the little-white-lie of self-deception?

    “A smile rising out of a depression is not the same as the smile of happiness.”
    I suppose conveying this distintion is a part of the actor’s craft – and I expect it does actually get noticed on the stage/screen? However in my experience people don’t pick up on it in Real Life, they take the smile at face-value (sorry, pun not intended!). Perhaps this is because a play/movie is a compression, and the audience expects to look for emotions there; perhaps people don’t look/see the distinction in real life because they are distracted by their own issues, and the emotions are more diluted amongst everything else happening around them?

  2. It’s interesting that these aphorisms on theatre have inspired a more personal “life” meditation. Or perhaps not, after all, “All the world’s a stage”. The aphorism on self-deception is, in theatrical terms, a note to actors looking for the motivations of their character. My argument is that to make a character real we must examine their self-deception, which takes us under the surface in the deeper “real” realm of personality.
    If this technique should be applied to “self-help”: it would probably be more useful to examine the self-deception of others than your own, NOT in order to be judgemental or critical of others, but to discover awareness of yourself. By seeing the masks that others make, makes it easier to feel make-up poured over our own personalities.
    But also remember that all that is hidden is subtly disguised, and we need time and patience to find out what is really under there. The work on discovering the character’s self deception is the most subtle work for the actor. Does Hamlet really want to avenge his father? Isn’t his real desire rather to escape the responsibility of becoming king?

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