Friday, October 31, 2008

A pause for inspiration

There's an Edward II/Cabaret Of Desire entry brewing, but in the meantime:

I was browsing YouTube while prepping my Iggy Pop costume, taking in some of the man himself, and I ran across this, which amazingly enough I had not seen before:

Now tell me, when is the last time you've seen a performer who was that swept up in their art on a theatrical stage? And more importantly, when's the last time you as an artist have been that swept up in your art?

I love that place. If I had to give up all pleasures but one for the rest of my life, I would keep dancing around with my jeans around my knees in front of thousands of people. Or repeating a nonsensical syllable to an audience member over and over and urgently over again until I am red in the face and doubled over, out of breath. Or writhing silently because I am an amoeba and I don't have limbs, dammit! Or hoisting a sweaty half-naked Israeli man in a trash barrel. That is to say, I would keep the ability to unhinge my soul and place it in the driver's seat.

Does this happen in traditional theatre? I see it (and feel it) there so rarely, yet I've found it readily available in clown, in DADA, in butoh, etc.... This is what brings people to the fringe. The fringe is where you don't have to worry about normal, thus where you can allow your reality to come out. Nothing normal is real, or perhaps nothing real is normal. Regardless, outsider art is where the soul is vindicated. Where the individuals have gone to maintain themselves. And as I prepare to ask how that can be brought to traditional theatre, I realize the answer is that it can't. We can bring glimpses over -- bits here and pieces there. But this is the sort of thing that you do in your bathroom when no one is watching and in front of an arena of tens of thousands of people and in both situations it looks and feels exactly the same. This is Art For Me. Art that is a piece of me. Art that is a piece of me that I do not release. This is not temporal, this is the unleashing of a hidden constancy. It's borderline insanity, the sort of work that you wonder how long you could sustain before completely draining yourself. Art that makes you throw things and remove clothing and disregard your body and sometimes just curl up in a little ball. This is true realism.

This is why I am an artist.


1 comment:

HelenT said...

I like a well-written script performed by competent craftsmen myself.