It is often difficult to clearly explain the way people operate on both a conscious and unconscious level.
As creating an image of a character who exists in this way is the goal of any actor in pursuit of "realism" the following edited extract from Jane Anderson's August '99 news letter is of interest. Jane is a dream analyst.
Dreams, Shadows, Complex People
Realising this, we made the
supreme effort of getting up and walking all of several paces
to the front door
.above us, glimmering in three-dimensional
depth, much larger than the image on our TV, the final, real
live-action lunar eclipse of the Millennium was screening against
the dark sky just for us. The Earth's shadow was clearly curved
as it spread across the lunar surface, helping me to experience
the Moon as a sphere rather than a disc
.The jolt of
Looking skyward I was not seeing the Earth as a physical reality and yet it was revealing itself in all its wholeness, in all its roundness, in all its enormity, through its shadow.
Aha! If you're into dream interpretation
you'll have caught my theme by now! The Moon, being seen most
clearly at night, often symbolises our intuition or our dream
insight. In the depths of our unconscious night it is too dark
to see our deepest selves, or to be aware of those unconscious
thoughts and behaviour patterns which rule our life, unseen.
In dreams we glimpse little pockets of truth through the darkness,
seeing clearly in the moonlight of a
But our most rewarding dream insights frequently come from the darkest and most scary of our dreams .the 'negative' aspects of our personalities: the multi-faceted sides of ourselves we don't want others to know about. These are known, in dream therapy and psychology, as our 'shadows' .(for example) The defensive old man snaps unsmilingly, all the while keeping his vulnerable joyful shadow under wraps for fear of losing control.
For every extreme we generally hold a shadow at bay, crouching in the corners of the unconscious but all the time affecting, unseen, our every expression, thought and action."
A perfect description of the source of sub-text.
Every actor should have some idea of which 'shadows' haunt the character they are playing and why these 'shadows' exist. But remember, like unconscious thoughts in the every day world, in your character these 'shadows' also need to remain hidden. They should only be evident through the outcome of the character's actions. In Jane's example the only evidence of the old man's 'shadow' is his need to use his grumpiness to make sure he stays in control - to use her words "all the time affecting, unseen, every expression, thought and action."
As in life, so it is for the actor at work.
If you are interested in further exploration of dreams and the unconscious you can find Jane's web site at www.janeanderson.com.au
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