Facilitating force

 

Among the variety of existing forums for exploration and research in the field of Performing Arts today, we observe a disunity of sorts. Not only do scholars and practitioners rarely mix, but there is a marked divide between ‘traditional’ and ‘alternative’, usually associated with institutional and independent theatre respectively. Despite the fact that many of them share the same eternal quest for the basic principles defining actor’s ability of creative expression, the skepticism present among these groups hinders effective collaboration. Yet, the diversity of theatrical forms and practices today poses an even greater demand on an actor’s skills and calls for flexible and complex modes of research.

ITL is committed to offering perspective on this issue by utilizing all existing resources, combining practice, theory, traditional and alternative approaches. While fostering increased interchange between professional, educational and research fields we are aware of and take into account the following cornerstones:

Ø It is widely known that many speak of acting technique, while few read books about it, and very few understand them. Actors remain suspicious of texts that theorize about acting, the obscurity of the language used in written studies is not helping matters. ITL will seek to produce accessible research material, both in written and a/v format, which will help the actor in his/her practical work.

Ø If theatre theory is to become a facilitating force, it must be tempered by awareness of practice. The challenge however is that practice, being functional and contextual, can hold apparently contradictory principles as equally valid, thus resisting neat theory. With this real difficulty in mind ITL seeks to nurture a stronger connection between scholars and the very field that underpins their theories, welcoming theoreticians to take part in our research projects.

Ø With all the valuable input that theory may have on practice, the most powerful resource of knowledge about acting remains the experience and insight of great theatre practitioners. They rarely record this insight, therefore the oral and practical tradition of conducting master classes and workshops holds greater authority among actors than does the written word. Also taking into account that the best way to learn is through practice, and in attempting to deconstruct the mutual skepticism between the independent scene and institutional theatre, ITL seeks to arrange workshops and training sessions where distinguished artists from both sides of the spectrum are invited to share their expertise.