Friday, January 16, 2004

"Hall's passion for masked theatre stems from a belief in the potency of the mask which allows the actor to experience emotions "much more animalic and enormous than you can easily express with a naked face. If you scream with a naked face, the response of an audience is to recoil, but if you tell them about a scream through a mask, it's the Munch painting, isn't it? Silent and frozen and absolutely horrifying. It has a form like a mask." The process of "getting a mask to speak and cry", however, is complex and long. "You can see when the mask ceases to be a barrier and actually expresses the body," explains Hall. You can't, however, short-circuit the time needed for the mask to grow up, he explains, therefore mask work and text work have to be done independently until a point is reached when the actors know the form and the rhythm of Ranjit Bolt's version of Oedipus as well as the steps of a dance. "Then they can make it their own and act it.""(Behind the ironic mask)

"When we were rehearsing The Oresteia, I discovered that if you had a dozen people in the same mask and one person said a line, you didn't know who'd said it. If all dozen people acted the line, it appeared that they'd all said it. I thought, "That's something", and that's what I built that work and this work on. Plus the fact that the Greek Chorus is like a shoal of fish or flock of birds - where one goes they all go. The problem about the Chorus is if you split it up into separate individuals, you have one person saying one thing, then another contradicting them. It's like saying "I feel terribly ill at the moment, but actually I feel quite well." The oscillations inside ourselves, which are completely contradictory - that's where the Greek Chorus lies; it's the subconscious."(National Theatre | Platform Papers Peter Hall | The Oedipus Plays Peter Hall talks to Peter Stothard)

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:: note :: . . . chorus & mask . . . ever since Baccha have been struggling with the unease . . . talking in unison creates a dehumanizing sense . . . the meaning of the spoken word, the ambiguity, the context, the sense . . . we are obliged to the meaning as well as all else . . . the bourgeois actor is the death of theater . . . the program towards a bourgeois theater is deadly . . .