The Impossible Machine
Theatre, as far as I can tell, began
with the mythological and
Tribal customs with masks have
been seen as a means of
concealing doubt, of taking
sort of character that could do
the unthinkable, or taking on the
elemental traits of wild animals.
In contemporary society, life is
full of niche roles, which like
masks, confer responsibilities
that may not meld perfectly
with the original intentions of
In fact the human drama has gained such significance
that it is now considered unusual or even abnormal to
question the role conferred by society.
Those who do inevitably develop anxiety about the
meaning of the human performance.
If I am an actor, am I either tragic or comic? Doomed or a
Who is acting with me, and who is in another play?
Are there people who are not actors?
Or, (this is a
dangerous one) "who is watching?"
It is easy to dismiss this as foolishness unless it is
understood that theatre, elementally and in principle, is a
reflection of the human condition, the best and the worst.
Those in the worst condition may aspire to theatre in order
to bring attention to their problems. It becomes easy to
assume that from a certain standpoint all actors are
complaining. This then justifies the anxiety that one should
think of theatre, if acting is what people do.
For those living well, theatre becomes a means of
rhetorically justifying a given way of life. But if life is
theatre, who is to say if perhaps those living well are
merely the best actors?
Inevitably to speak of masks is to speak of monsters.
Then the best performance may be a birth of a monster,
a death of a monster, or a sudden knowledge that one is
a monster when one wasn't, or is no longer a monster.