Robert Wilson: We shouldn’t make theater if it’s depressing.

When mankind met the arts and they lived a beautiful complicated intriguing life together. They were so close that no one could separate them even, wherever they went, whenever, the art would appear to embrace the man and everyone was so happy and content. The man that embodied a sum of arts is right here in this place you imagine and his words are full of hope and motivation. He is great artist Robert Wilson and I am so honored to have joined his conference at FITS. Here are a few of his quotes, but, in order to get a fuller picture of him, the video might help you with that. True artists never dissociate from their art.

My work is non-interpretive. I don’t think the interpretation is the responsibility of an actor, of a director, a designer, or even a playwright. Shakespeare could not completely comprehend all of what he wrote. It was far too complex. It is something that we can think about it each day in a different way. That’ s not to say it doesn’t have meanings. Of course it does. It is full of meanings. But to fix an interpretation to the work will erase all the other ideas.

The reason to work for me as an artist is to say what is not to say what something is. For if we know what it is that we are doing there is no reason in doing it. Every night even if you are saying the same thing over and over you are free to reflect and think about it in multiple ways. Each moment, as long as we are living, will always be different. Listen. That sequence of sounds will never ever happen again. The only thing that’s constant is change. If we stay open, every moment is changing. John Cage said – There is no such thing as silence. Sometimes when we are very quiet we become more aware of the sounds than when we make a lot of sounds.

We shouldn’t make theater if it’s depressing. We shouldn’t make theater if we can’t laugh. Even if you’re performing Shakespeare’ s great tragedy King Lear, you have to laugh a little bit when the King dies, or it will never be a great tragedy. You need humor.

I met Samuel Beckett when I was performing A letter for Victoria in Paris. He came backstage and he said: I like your text, Mr. Wilson. I said: I never imagined you would like a text of nonsense, Mr. Beckett. Then he said: Let’s have dinner. I was very nervous to have dinner with a living legend playwright, a giant of the 20th century. I’ve seen Happy Days in Paris many times. It was an equal to me to any other play in the 20th century. He told me that the lead actress was great because she did not understand a word of what she was saying.

In order to get that freedom, it is a lot of work.  Charlie Chaplin would sometimes do 250-275 different takes for a scene for a film.

The first time you do something it has a kind of freedom and if you want to repeat it, it takes a long time. There is a whole breakdown if I can do it again, without having to think so much about it.You are doing everything for a cause, the cause being the text. I am Bugs Bunny from Texas and I don’t want to know why I’m doing what I am doing. If I know why I am doing what I am doing I can’t do it. I work on an effect and I don’t have to have a reason.

One of the most shocking things for me was when I was first in Japan and saw 14th century No play. Two thirds of the movement are completely abstract. They are not attached to the meaning of the text, to the story, because for the Japanese to give them meaning it means they would be less pure. The movement has a certain purity and it does not have to be related to something based on an idea, a decoration or an interpretation. Movement can be for movement’s sake.

 

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