Friday, December 18, 2009

ON ACTING: Striving for Complexity

The philosopher Hegel said tragedy is not a matter of right versus wrong, but of right versus right. In acting terms, one character being right doesn’t necessarily make the other character be wrong.

By putting the audience through a witnessing experience of complex emotional conflict--where there is no singular right and/or singular wrong--and allowing those complex emotions to stir concomitant complex thinking in the audience, the actor forces the audience to consider the fullness of the presented dramatic issue and in the long run to understand themselves and their existence better.

That is the whole point of drama, by the way: to keep alive at the forefront of the audience’s consciousness their own personal and universal unresolved emotional issues. As James Joyce said in his Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man”: in his work the artist must “forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.”


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