The Invisible Actor

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Yoshi Oida wrote a book called The Invisible Actor that took a lifetime to culminate and partnership to give it voice. Lorna Marshall co-writes the indescribable nature of a truly free actor and performances that can cut through to coldest of hearts to our shared universal existence.

The gut of it conveyed that performers needed the courage to leave a portion of their performance open — leaving room for psychic, mental, emotional space for audience members to come along — that is, to add their own experience; the final key ingredient for a moving piece of art. I found this idea very bold, so much of my training had been about creating a reality for the audience to experience, the more full the better, but this suggests a more elegant and penetrating method of using the imagination.

The idea is easy to state but presents a challenge to creators not knowing how much content is over-bearing and leaves no room for the other’s imagination. Trusting expression, therefore, becomes the meaning and task of the book.

But how to trust it?  How does one know what is too full, blocking what others can contribute, and how much is too little to resonate and engage?  The answer is in the story and in you. The title of the book provides an image of a performer, an actor, who is invisible in the work. Serving the story, and character becomes the highest purpose, the actor themselves disappears into this– not needing acclaim or recognition — ownership– for the creation that moves through them.

We can all think of examples of actors that seem to disappear in their roles — we forget it is them. Only the story remains. The efforts of their art becomes invisible allowing us to become lost in it’s creation. Absorbed. By removing the actor’s ego, it allows space for the audience to bring their own — their personal stories, experience, dreams and desires all can be easily impressed into the piece when the actor is gone. This is the space that masterpieces are created.


Posted 9-27-13 11:11am

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