The (Aesthetic) World Turned Upside Down

November 15, 2017

Why is it that many in the West avow that it’s perfectly reasonable to adopt another sex or race as one’s own in daily life (and would compel others to agree); but when it comes to fictional dramatic work, we find innumerable acting coaches declare it to be imperative that an actor “access the personal” to arrive at an “authentic moment?”

Because the world has been turned upside down. Everyday life has become a realm of fantasy and the imaginative world has become the prosaic. (Such is the “disruptive” nihilist legacy of the Deconstructionists and Critical Theorists.) It is about time for artists and performers to jump ahead of this mess by jumping backwards, by hewing to the aesthetic traditions of Western civilization. In the dramatic works of the present day, we witness proof of the failure of the post-War thinking on aesthetic performance. Yes, they used to do it better. And so can we.

We, as actors, can immediately apply tradition by 1) turning away from our personal life story when approaching a role, by refusing to make a fictional role about us, 2) by respecting the text of the work, and searching in it for imaginative opportunities and 3) by applying our fertile imaginations, rather than our own limited life experience, to dramatic expression. (To be continued…)

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Wyntner Woody



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