NOTE THAT BECAUSE THIS IS A BLOG, THINGS ARE POSTED IN ORDER THAT I TYPE THEM. THE BEGINNING OF THIS THREAD WAS TYPED IN EARLIER so it comes afterwards. Scroll down.
LEAR, JAN. 30
DECK, RAGUSA, WEISS, DOBRIN:
Your scenes are noise and shouting because you are all actors from the neck up. And that isn’t enough. In fact, it isn’t acting. Your bodies respond to no stimuli, transfer no stimuli, you feel nothing, because feeling is organic, is physical, and your bodies are clods of clay or stone -- emotion is physical. It is the whole organism responding. You are responding with nothing but memorized lines, and you transfer nothing but loud memorized lines. Robin clasps her hands in a prayer position, rubs her palms together, because Robin isn’t responding with her body. Regan would never clasp or rub her hand. These people are in total action all the time -- much of the action may be covert, but it is still action and is still visible. It is continuous, it flows through the whole body.
You shoot an arm out like a traffic signal, no follow-through at all. Respond while listening with movement that is interrupted by stimuli but is continuous, Move after your own speeches until arrested.
Close all scenes with swift sure movement which carries you off to accomplish the objective which the scene has set up. Enter into your next scene with the swift certain movement that indicates you have achieved an objective and are setting out on your next.
LEAR JANUARY 31
Shakespeare wrote for actors not for Hollywood directors who can create a drama by piecing together occasional bits: smiles, lips, eyes, etc. What in the name of Jupiter did your mad tear from up left to down right -- the longest possible cross on stage -- what in the name of all the gods did your mad tear across say? I expected to see a man with a whip appear since you seem to have been driven by one. I have put Edmund where you have to meet him head on -- why did nothing happen? I have told you the court is corrupt -- Lust prevails, false values fill the air and smell to high heaven. I can tell you the nature of your thoughts, I cannot think them for you. I cannot do Hollywood flashbacks and show you in bed, I cannot show you dressing, caressing your lustful bodies. I cannot piece together such moments. I can only give you a long, long cross to show your animality, your ruthlessness, your lust. In Heaven’s name, Ann-Robin, show that you learned something in the moment by moment playing of fantasy. Show that you know everything you do, every second, has to say something clearly to the captive audience. You are the new order -- say it in every moment movement, every tone, every relationship.
I have put you in the spot from which Lear has descended -- where he committed his folly. As the sisters ascend the stairs, Lear has descended in the dissolve. Fill the world with your laughter, then open your arms wide and pray your profane prayer with unholy glee, then skip from level to level to your coming conspiratorial scenes -- Skip or leap or run -- but don’t just walk. He is not a great villain, he is not a tragic villain -- as you tend to play him. He is not capable of instigating. Lear’s folly. It is a jewel that has dropped into his opportunistic fingers and he plays an opportunist game with it, joyfully, unscrupulously, as he does to the lust of Goneril and Regan -- you seem to have forgotten the narrator quality the play must have, the parable, epic, the universal narration. Perhaps before tonight you better spend some time with your Old Testament. Read the Fall of Babylon. Read of Sodom and Gomoroah. Be prepared to narrate the epic of Lear in the same style.
Shakespeare writes with such wonderful clarity it is unbelievable that anyone can miss the subtexts which link the scenes. At the end of scene 1, the sisters announce their intentions to the world, they begin their progress to dominion -- each successive act is their means of accomplishment -- Goneril tells Oswald what his duties are. What more material than that she should call him at the end of a scene to check on the execution of his instructions? The line is straight and direct -- how can you forget what you are doing next -- Again I can tell you the nature of your thoughts and their direction -- I cannot think them for you.
Let us see you survey the world over the audience with possessive eyes, your evil ones, as Lear comes to survey it tottering, crashing, catapulting, whirling to disaster. First meeting you were told that the drama is a storm, a world of action, Everything is in movement from the opening trumpet to the dead march at the end -- create this -- through your senses, your blind eyes, or your seeing eyes, your sense of smell, your lustful kinesthetic sense -- get your creative dramatic imagination working or we are lost. The thunder, lightning, wind, clanging has to be louder, more vivid, more shaking, than the sound and prop crews can create -- and I don’t mean for Lear only. The storm exists for all, but is experienced by different people from different attitudes.
If anyone (Oswald) or anyone else is too slow in response, strike, move, do something. He has no patience.