Saturday, April 30, 2011

Unfinished thoughts: Part 1

Finished reading, Zygmunt Molik's Voice and Body Work: The Legacy of Jerzy Grotowski by Giuliano Campo with Zygmunt Molik. My debt to Zygmunt has previously been noted.

My thoughts revolve around 'tradition'.
Molik: The tradition. Follow the tradition. That's all. And everyone brings something new to the tradition and in this way it goes on. It's very simple. There's nothing more to say. (28)

Campo Note: I have to clarify that Molik's idea of tradition relates to research of the sources of each human being rather than the theatrical roots. In fact he created his own techniques and never referred to any other method, whilst still claiming to belong to the tradition. This is indeed the specific approach reveled by the operation of maieutics as an exploration of the self.
(188)
My acting classes often conclude with a statement to the effect I come from the 'Grotowski tradition' and more specifically the voice work, though completely my own responsibility, is a direct development of a search begun with Molik.

T. S. Eliot wrote in an essay Tradition and the Individual Talent, "Every nation, every race, has not only its own creative, but its own critical turn of mind ..." What exactly do I mean 'tradition'? What is this searching? What 'critical turn' of a practitioner's mind is required?

Is it possible to inherit a practice? Could following the ways of a teacher/master with strict repetitive adherence reconstruct the meanings, proportions and values of an acting process.

I obtained my status as teacher by a labour of lived experiences. Through these experiences I perceived the presence of an acting process. I studied with a collection of the most individual work of actors during their period of full maturity with a growing sense of my own place in time and I fostered a deep appreciation of my relation to encounters with living actors. To teach in the present requires an awareness of the past which the past's awareness of itself cannot be articulated. I procured a consciousness of the past and continue to develop this consciousness with each and every classroom/training experience.

The paradox to discover my place/identity/process involves a surrendering of myself each moment to something more valuable. The progress is a continual self-sacrifice, a continual vigilance to follow the 'work'. In fact to become a receptacle for seizing and storing up countless exercises, remembrances, associations, feelings, phrases, images which remain until all unite in the moment of working. There is not the need to express myself but rather the need to follow a particular territory, " ... the unknown. I'm not going to explain what the unknown means, but such a thing exists, yes, and so it is possible to find it." (Molik. 5) The unknown, in practice, is when the practitioner combines their body, voice and life in peculiar and unexpected ways.
Molik: My knowledge. When I start a new work I don't use any knowledge. (19)
I take this to mean 'the work' cannot be done without surrendering wholly to the 'work' to be done and I am not likely to know what is to be done unless I practice in what is not merely the present, but the present moment including the past - fully conscious not of what is dead but of what is already living.

It would be false to speak of conforming to a way of working. It is more valuable to find a way the process fits into a life force.

continued at Part II