Actor Driven Magic
How does this entry relate to Flux's full production of A Midsummer Night's Dream?
So just what, exactly, is actor driven magic?
-Is overtly theatrical, with no attempt made to conceal the trick. The audience's imagination must therefore be complicit in the creation of the magic.
-Lives primarily in the body of the actors, celebrating the expressive potential and erotic presence of the human body.
-Is tactile and collaborative, with actors working together to create the sense of a power that transcends their individual selves.
-Is playful, both in the sense of being pleasurable in the openness of it's possibilities; and in the sense of acknowledging that pleasure as the actor playing the role. This is not the same as alienation, where the presence of the actor removes the audience from the reality of the character; rather, the acknowledgment of that pleasure by the actor invites the audience to take pleasure in their own imagination's complicity.
-Takes a lot of additional rehearsal, with actors laboring heavily so that their play may seem light.
In practice, the above principles have led to these production choices:
-The costumes should seem like something the actors themselves might wear if they were in these situations, with less emphasis placed on specific time and place; and more emphasis placed on helping to bridge the difference between actor and role.
-The fairy costumes should be fluid and evocative through simplicity; to achieve those qualities, we are using fabrics that can shift to perform more functions than simply costuming the characters; and can help in creating the scenery in this dream-like play. This allows the fairies to be literally one with the natural world of the stage.
-The scenery itself should also be fluid and evocative through simplicity; to achieve those qualities, a forest is implied through poles that can also be brooms, swords, spears, walls of a house, columns of a palace and flats of a stage; the scenery transforms into props in the same way our costumes transform into scenery.
-Props, costumes and scenery all must feel like extensions of the actors' performances; and must never inhibit or distract from the power of the human body.
- Because the magic of the play-proper is actor-driven, the play within the play should also feature actor-driven magic, only hopefully more comically mis-guided than our own.