Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Entry #4

Interview between Richard Foreman and Christine Vartoughian, intern on Wake Up Mr. Sleepy! Your Unconscious Mind is Dead!

Christine Vartoughian: Who or what is Mr. Sleepy?

Richard Foreman: That's every human being, including myself, who are asleep. I've always been concerned with trying to make a theatre that woke people up to what energies are really operating in the unconscious or other places that we don't normally perceive. Wake up is the message of every one of my plays. It used to be in the early days that you start a nice dance or something like that and then it would stop and I remember a friend of mine from France at one point saying 'Richard, Richard, you start all these very enjoyable things going and then you stop them, and I said 'Yes, because we all start to be seduced by that, myself included. I want to slap you in the face and say wait a minute, wake up, do you realize what's happening to you? You're being seduced.

CV: So seduction is one of the things we succumb to?

RF: Sure, seduction is everything that we use as an escape, that we like, be it chocolate cake, sex, entertainment, wealth, it's all seductive, it all takes us away from the real task which is trying to see things at each moment as they really are.

CV: What qualities do actors that you like to work with posses?

RF: I like actors that are not saying at every moment to the audience, on one level or another, love me, love me. Even when I was a young man I always disliked what I perceived as being the real content of performances which was 'I may be suffering, I may be playing an evil person, but I want you to love me'. Obviously an actor wants to be liked. I want people who don't, or I want to teach people how not to use that, how to have an inner laser-like intensity, that's all inner directed, not going out so much towards the audience. One thing I've always told actors is that they have to think that everything they say is the most intelligent thing in the world (though they're not saying anything in this play). They have to do it, it's a secret that they have to assume that only one person in the audience is going to understand and they are not offering it on a silver platter for everybody. It's a secret, so that when you're sitting in the audience you can think Ahh I'm the one person that gets that, the other people aren't smart enough to get it. That's a delight, to think that it is not stated in a vulgar, general way, but you are sitting there with your partner in the theater and you poke him in the ribs and say 'Hey did you realize what he's saying?!' You've got to have that feeling. I want a secretive kind of performance- performers that have secrets, and actually I think that gets me in trouble sometimes because I know certain people have said 'Oh, I didn't like the show because everybody seemed to be acting as if they had some secret and I didn't get it.' To me, that's the only thing that turns me on because I do these shows to turn myself on, which would be a form of seduction, which I just said I don't want to use. However, these are the contradictions that make up everything.

CV: What do you say to those people who say 'I didn't get the secret'?

RF: There is not much I can say, because to me, to meet people who seem to have a secret is fascinating, and again wakes me up. Confronted with something like that, I want to know what the secret is, and of course, generally, in real life when we learn the secret, eh, then you lose interest.


Blogger Timothy Braun said...

This is good to see. I wrote of you about a month ago and decided to post what I wrote on my blog after catching a few installments. Looking forward to the new show, and I love this blog. I check it every day. I hope this continues after "Wake Up..."

3:55 PM  

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