Theater

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Fake theater is theater of personalities. It's people playing "types". It is pantomime, and it has gotten very sophisticated, so it imitates art very well. It is people saying, "I've always wanted to play this role" or someone saying, "you should play this role because you are this type" and then together with people they are friendly with, to do it as an exercise. It's saying, you have the perfect voice to play this role, which really means to re-create someone else's performance of that role. Sometimes these exercises are fun to watch; they are entertainment. We laugh and cry and applaud our friends and these awkward strangers'  ability to shape shift and act out things, sometimes things we've never seen before. I find this kind of theater lazy and uninteresting. In fact, I find it insulting because it is a waste of resource and time. It requires spectacle to cover up it's lack of heart. It feeds off the sympathies (good or bad) of its audiences. It mimics other productions, other art forms, other experiences. Amateur theater is always a mockery of the original, and it always feels untrue and uninspired. It is, in all ways, an act of "recreating" - and It pretty much requires an audience of people you know to fill the seats. Because that's who you're doing it for, people you know who are sympathetic towards you. You're not creating art, you're play acting for the adulation and validation that you can act like someone besides yourself. That you are "talented". Most adults today don't go to the theater because it's boring. This kind of theater is entirely boring, and we've all been dragged to it and so when offered a chance to go to the theater our response is - "no thank you, not THAT again." It's not because of lack of funding for arts education, or any other silly reason that the modern theater is completely endangered. It is because most theater is lazy and most audiences have become lazy (because most audiences have never been asked to be more.)

Real theater is artistic in the truest sense of the word; it is skilled artisans (but often untrained or not overly trained) transforming the energy of the audience, the room, and ultimately their own energy in the audience of others. It is someone saying, I need to express something inside of me that is unexpressed through this role or creation. It is alchemy, transforming base metals (raw emotion) into higher spiritual truths (gold). It requires so much more on both the audiences part and the artists part. It requires a strong spiritual teacher as its guide (director). It requires a script that speaks to universal truths that exist in us all. It requires actors willing to abandon everything, including their sense of selves. It requires audience members who are not there to see friends act things out - but who are there to truly have their inner lives exposed, and to experience catharsis and have their energy manipulated and changed. This is the only theater I am interested in seeing and making. It sometimes incorporate spectacle to further heighten the stakes created by the artists, and it is creation. It exists singularly in that moment, like all real art. Each performance, each night, there is a different audience and a different contract. A different energy. It must be remade each night from scratch; as the hipsters call it, it is "bespoke". People from all around the world seek this out to experience and you know it when you've found it. Real theater is connecting the audience and actor to the divine; to the divine truths, to the creator, to themselves, without middle men. Without pantomiming. Real theater is church, in the truest and most vulnerable sense of the word. 

WIlliam PacholskiComment