In the early 1970s the great British theatre director Peter Brook took a group of actors on a trip through the Sahara desert, through Mali and Niger and Nigeria in search of the universal language of theatre.
Peter Brook (credit: Theatre Room Asia)
The troupe threw away everything they knew about performance and acting and directing to create a new form from zero. To perform something they hadn’t ever thought of yet, in order to discover another way.
When you can’t rely on convention, shared experience, common cultural references you are bound to create new shared conventions. You have to stop acting and find something so fresh and extra-ordinary within yourself that it speaks to the audience as a completely, authentic, natural, spontaneous event.
Is this the potential of Solo: to discover what you don’t know you don’t know? How do you discover it?
Do you have to be willing to allow yourself to go through the process? Why can’t it be seen from here, why can it can only be known from there? Especially when we don’t even know where “there” is. Do we find that out too, through the process?
In Waiting for Godot, the characters have this conversation:
“We could start all over again perhaps.”
“That should be easy.”
“It’s the start that’s difficult.”
“You can start from anything.”
“Yes, but you have to decide.”
Godot is about the meaning of life. Is it random, based on nothing but chance? The play questions what is real. Is Godot real? He never comes. It asks “What are we doing here?”
These questions are never answered.
Brook on the other hand it seems to me was searching for possibility; he was unwilling to settle for boundaries. His overriding instruction to his actors was “Never stop. It’s a golden rule. One always stops as soon as something is about to happen!”
I think it is at this moment that the unexpected can show up. The possibility can arise. This is when we can wake up on the other side of our identity.
If you would like to join me (and seven others so far) on this journey of discovery there are still six places left for the winter school.
The theme of the winter school is The Dark Clown. The dark clown allows us to question the meaning and the absurdities of life and identity, just like Vladimir and Estragon in Godot.
Let me know if you would like a place and I will let you have the account details to make an electronic transfer or my address to send a cheque.