Mystic in the Theater Eleonora Duse

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Mystic in the Theater
Eleonora Duse

One of the great opportunities that Performance Ensemble provides for us is the chance to be innovative. To experiment with our own creativity in unusual ways. This is one of the many things that Eleonora Duse was famous for. She was the first modern actress. Instead of seeing acting as some mere form of entertainment she saw acting as a great force capable of making people "aware of the mystery and wonder of the human spirit. Although it seemed that Duse was unaware of the audience while performing, anyone who saw her felt an indescribable experience that went on a journey with her. This is what she regarded as one of the most important aims in theater: communication. She wanted to create her own theater that was simple, small, plain walls, and without ornaments. To her the only things that mattered were; that one was heard clearly and was able to create a genuine communication between audience and player. She wanted to do- as we do in PE- experiment and innovate, clear the theater of all commercial clutter.

These ideas also reminded me of the senior project I am involved in called "Signs." The form of the show is unlike any other senior project and every cast member including myself have felt feelings of fear; fear of the unknown. We have all been scared to play or experiment and create new and interesting work. I am very thankful for being involved in this show because that is what actors should do. Be brave enough to experiment into the unknown. Duse saw fear as a form of vanity. This is something that I have been learning more and more since the summer started and Duse made it clearer for me. She believed that one had to eliminate themselves in order to let the universal self come through. What I take this as is letting go of all ego in order to be a complete vessel allowing the character to come through to the audience. This is why when people saw her the never saw a trace of the woman Eleonora...
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