I was in a cave and I needed to draw some pictures on the wall about what my journey was, and that drive, that need, led me to acting.
Someone recently asked me what my religion is and I answered that I am a student of religion, I might even say a scholar of religion. And being that gives me a form of free floating objectivity, a way of weeding my garden and not allowing everything to grow there that wants to grow. Theologians, prophets and spiritual thinkers have written a massive amount on the subject of divinity. As far as I can see there is no human language adequate enough to express truly spiritual ideas. It is easy to get walled in by terminology. But there is an attempt to describe the cosmic common to all monotheistic religions which is a three part idea, a triumvirate: Father, Son, Holy Spirit: God and Man: Creator and Creation. It's in that little word "and" that the Spirit can be found. It's the invisible spark between the fingers of God and Adam in the famous Michelangelo painting. It's the magical moment when an idea comes to life, the unbreakable relationship between the creator and the act of creation, the thing that ties the doer to the deed.
When I was studying art one of my drawing teachers frequently held an exercise in which the model would pose for one minute, then break the pose and we had to draw what we saw from memory. It is not as easy as it sounds.
One of things that fascinates me about cave paintings is that most of them are pictures of animals, large animals, animals too large to ever have been in the caves. Not only that but some of those animals are moving, a herd of them running. In order for those cave artists to paint those creatures as well as they did they must have been observing them very carefully and then remembering what they saw.
The cave artists were painting what they saw around them, things that were vital to their lives and to the understanding of those lives. As early man emerged from the caves they developed a more refined but still primitive language and with the language came stories, fables, parables and eventually dances and songs, all in the attempt, the need, to define the undefinable.
Many journal entries ago I wrote about the Van Gogh painting of his boots. Under his watchful eye the boots became living things, and I reasoned that it didn't matter what he painted because the painting itself was the object. It was the act of painting, the creation of the picture that was the meaning.
For the actor, it doesn't matter what the role is, it's the acting of it that's important. If done correctly it draws the issues of life itself on the walls of the theatre, it's the magic spark between the fingers, the defining of the invisible, the Sprit.
DB - The Vagabond