I developed my own performance philosophy, because it became apparent to me that no one had a functional one. I started to realize the dire state of this matter when I was reading original translations of Chekhov (not the playwright, the actor) and Stanislavsky (the actor/director). Chekhov and Stanislavsky worked together for a time until Chekhov threw a massive temper tantrum over semantics and branched off into his own performance technique.
Michael Chekhov Was Anton Chekhov’s Nephew
The “ah-ha!” moment for me came when I was comparing these two Russian methodologies (I had been studying Shakespeare performance methods, and some Dada-ist garbage alongside rhetorical analysis and third-generational Marxist bodies of work), and I realized that they–each of them, quite earnestly–were talking about exactly the same end goal, and trying to start a war over whether they should pummel actors with one set of words or another. They were literally fighting over which words they ought to use to describe the same end results.
Stanislavsky Was A Terrible Director
I spent about six years of my life studying actors as they rehearsed and performed in classrooms, tiny audition rooms, and on stages of all sorts. I acted myself, and I watched the dynamics that unfolded over several moderately-budgeted film projects. I was fascinated by the ever-increasing gap between functional performance (by which I mean, acting, storytelling, that resonated deeply with an audience) and spoken or practiced methodology.
Shakespeare Was Handled The Worst, By Far
No one knew what they were doing; the best performers were destroyed by horrible directing and teaching, and support materials were often designed to deliberately hobble the actors or build a wedge of hatred and fear between the performers and the audience.
Gosh, Victor, How Did You Learn Anything?
I met two, no, make that three, good directors over these years, and I compared them exhaustively to the many, many terrible, harmful, and utterly incompetent directors that proliferated around them. Also, remember, I was studying functional source material at the same time (excellent French plays, treatments on Alexander technique, and heavy doses of Graham, Balanchine, and newer American theatre phenomenons, among other things).
Dude, This Is Not An Acting Blog, You Dirty Cross-Pollinator!
All this to say, I found, as I read Michael Chekhov’s ardent haranguing, that no one had a coherent performance philosophy at all–and I will say here, no one had a performance philosophy that functioned. By which I mean, actually worked. And by that I mean that any performance philosophy that cannot be applied by a student actor and create sustainable, measurable results in audience reaction, popularity, and emotional connection as an ensemble and as an individual figure to the public, is only a pile of ego-stroking hot air.
So I Made My Own. Like A Mad Scientist.
I didn’t cackle while I developed it, though I did become personally magnetic, and was borderline stalked by several people of both genders who found a sudden and urgent need to cultivate my favor. When I had the bare bones of a performance philosophy, I started running trials. I tweaked things. I procured several dozen willing guinea pigs in the form of student and community theatre actors, and I applied my techniques to their bodies and personalities.
Enter The Blocked Pelvic Cradle
I found an interesting phenomenon as I tested; I could make very hot, emotionally-viable actors, but they all had the same energy blocks. Every single one of them were blocked through their foundational motion carriage. And here is where I came up against a significant problem; human beings, once blocked through the pelvic cradle, are like grievously-wounded wolves. They bite, metaphorically, because their energy source is cut off, and they are, after a manner of speaking, suffering a slow death of personality.
How Do I Find Out If My Pelvic Cradle Is Blocked, Victor?
Well, the bad news is that your pelvic cradle is probably blocked. The good news is that you can open the energy flow, and remove the obstructions, if you . . .
Duh Duh Duuuuuuh!
Yeah, I recognize this feeling. It’s the feeling I get when I’m about to show how to do something profound. Well, I’m trying something new today. I’m not going to tell you how to work through your energy blocks (I wrote some books for that). When you get tired of that dried-up numb feeling in your hip sockets, shoot me an email, and I’ll think about it.
You’re reading Victor Poole. I was raised to be invisible, and to serve the whims of all other people. I am undoing my early programming. Despite my unfortunate beginnings, my comprehensive performance philosophy, which is painstakingly illustrated via allegory in these nine books, works exceptionally well.