Anne Bogart on Authenticity, Embarrassment, and Intention in Art

"'He's an actor, not a singer,' she explained. 'He is performing a singer, but he's not really singing.'"

"In the case of a mediocre performer who executes mindless imitation, the discomfiture of the original creative moment is missing. In search of authenticity, one cannot expect to find security and safety inside inherited forms, plays, songs or movements. What's necessary is to rekindle the fire inside of repetition and be prepared for a personal exposure to its effects. Be prepared to be embarrassed."

"To avoid embarrassment is a natural human tendency. Feeling truly exposed to others is rarely a comforting sensation. But if what you do or make does not embarrass you sufficiently, the it is probably not personal or intimate enough. Revelation is necessary to warrant attention. The feeling of embarrassment is a good omen because it signifies that you are meeting the moment fully, with an openness to the new feelings it will engender."

"The best way to avoid embarrassment is to treat the material at hand as a known entity rather than an unknown one. As a director I can choose to approach a play either with the attitude that it is a small controllable canvas or a huge canvas, brimming with untapped potential. If I choose to possess a superior attitude to the material, it will conform, remain safe and unthreatening. It will stay smaller than me. If I adopt the attitude that the project is an adventure larger than anything I might imagine, an entity that will challenge me to find an instinctual path through it, the project will be allowed its proper magnitude."

"You cannot hide; your growth as an artist is not separate from your growth as a human being: it is all visible."

"Neither can an actor hide from an audience. Japanese director Tadashi Suzuki once remarked: 'There is no such thing as good or bad acting, only degrees of profundity of the actor's reason for being on stage.'"

"In art, the truth is always manifest in the experience of it. The audience will finally have the most direct experience of the breadth or lack of your interest. They will feel the truth about your intentions and about who you are, who you have become. They will instinctively know what you are up to. It is all visible."

Quotes taken from Anne Bogart's A Director Prepares: Seven Essays on Art and Theatre

Michelle Radford