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On the foundations of Green Acting
by David Sparenberg
2010-09-13 07:40:25
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At the onset of these reflections, I acknowledge my indebtedness to the explorations and teachings of  Jerzy Grotowski, Tadashi Suzuki, Yoshi Oida and Anne Bogart.  That said, here are the points of importance.

A foundational goal of green acting is to make what is invisible visible, what is ignored acknowledged, what is unheard listened to, what is unfelt felt—and felt deeply—and what is marginalized vital and brought back to center.  All of this has to do with relationships.  The reestablishment of relationships of Earth sanity is cathartic and therapeutic work, grounded in re-Earthing experience, felt-mind and soulfulness, applying images, associations and enlivened pathos, aimed at re-birthing an ecosophy (an Earth Wisdom) of eco-renaissance, and a biotic democracy of unity through diversity.

In this undertaking, which in its nature is dramatic, green acting focuses on animal energy.  Animal energy is intrinsically tied into the instinct to survive.  If a performer dies in performance; in the sense of being dead on the stage; the performance dies and with it that particular exploration of experience-possibility perishes.  If the performer survives through the instinctual power and concentrated conservation of the sheer vital force of animal energy, and in surviving prevails, then a performance becomes the presence of a momentary commensality which may implant seeds and aspirations of profound awakening from illusions of normalized violence, greed and criminal indulgence.

In this same green acting, the focus is on discovering, embracing, embodying and communicating—as an act of aesthetic communion—the stillness in motion and the motion in stillness; and rendering this dynamic interplay visible, sensible and as natural and organic as the interplay of light and dark, day and night, and, indeed, all essential unified opposites that give harmonious definition to Earthly existence.

In this same green acting, the focus is on the quality of energy that is ingathered and arises before action and which directs and sustains action, and is universally recognized as life-force, emergent in a moment of human freedom on the verge, that is, the living edge, of decision and hence of action.  Whereas the means of action and the terms of articulation are culturally specific, the energy that emerges before an act belongs to the human condition.  Hence the energy that is embodied before an act or action is trans-cultural and transnational and is capable of establishing the mutuality of recognition which is universally human, which can become shared experience through open perception, and which may be extended through pathetic imagination to all sentient life forms.

From this foundation there opens a questioning of choices, processes, paradigms, obstacles, possibilities and potentially creative alterity.

More still: The quality of energy before an act or action is a quantity of concentrated resource shaped into qualitative modulation and articulation through intention and intensity.  It is the subtle that precedes the overt, as the shadow is the harbinger of solid flesh, and is made known through the application of effort qualities, or if you will, affect displays.

Through the careful precision and perfection of these three radical (as in root) concentrations, an actor seeks becoming a holy actor embodying the power of a sacred desire messenger delivering a message on the intimate interfacing interdependence of pathos, passion, mystery and sanctity of life, as a living presence who generates and exemplifies extraordinary attention, transport and transformation.

This holy actor, as articulating presence—through physical articulation as well as vocal—is empowered through precision, perfection and felt-mind purpose to enter into openness, vulnerability and embrace—often the embrace of otherness for the sake of the creational dialogue of otherness—to impact others and leave a lasting impression in the manner of the memorable.  This holy actor calls out, delivers, gives over in the moment, moments of the memorable which can recur to the engaged receiver as images of profound ambiguity and emotions of significant memory.  Profound ambiguity products alertness and stimulates discourse, such as to say, “I cannot say what this means, but do say that it is.”  Emotions of significant memory bring on movement into altered consciousness, such as ecstasy, euphoria, tragedy and sublime meditation.  Significant memory may indeed be memory acquired through the eyes of the soul.

Poetry too, in the service of greening, strives to make the invisible visible and to enshrine the visibly given, specifically when reuniting what is broken through abuse, extravagant distress and misuse, and returning what is lost into the healing consciousness of a belonging-anamnesis.  A sense of genuine belonging—the experience of holding together that which holds us—is essential to countering miasmal alienation which breeds sentimentality, apathy and madness, allowing for continuous exercises of egregious and ubiquitous exploitation.

The actor as holy actor is the same as the poet when the poet is in the way of the green troubadour, performing as an example of the embodiment of living poetically on and with the systemic integrity of the Earth.

The green actor is not committed to the willful imposition of reductive human-all-too-human meanings, but draws inspiration and sustaining aspiration from applying to an evolving ecosophy wisdom of the great performing genius, Charlie Chaplin, who found the creative humility to soften and sensitize the hearts of millions: “Life is a desire, not a meaning.”

David Sparenberg

8-9 September 2010

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