The Art of Silence

I promised myself that I would write regular posts. That this blog would not wither, gather dust and only occasionally get wheeled out when I felt the urge push me to the keyboard. Like all good plans… I didn’t consider contingencies when life got in the way.

I’m a Creative. Whenever an opportunity presents itself to create, I can’t help myself. This time that creativity didn’t restrict itself to writing but rather manifested itself in theatre. For the past 6 to 12 months I have been preparing, scheming, casting and ultimately directing and acting in (although that is another story for another blog) The Narcissist by Stephen Carleton at the Incinerator Theatre, Ipswich, Queensland. At the end of April my focus changed. My blogging fell silent to make way for theatre.

I suppose what I’m driving at is that my creativity, my art, occurs when I can silence one aspect and focus on another. Joseph, HJ describes it succinctly when discussing silence and clarity. This blog provides that clarity arises from stillness in the same way that confusion arises from chaos. For me then, it has to be about clarity. It’s about pausing and taking time to reflect. Silence is about focus. Focus is about control. Reflection provides clarity. With clarity, you can feel. It is that introversion into yourself that provides the opportunity to feel. The window to yourself to reflect.

A wonderful and inspiring director with whom I have worked with on several projects, Les Chappell, describes performance as feeling. He argues, and quite rightly in my opinion, that you cannot perform if you don’t feel. He also affirms that feeling must come with control. The actor is always in control. So from that which I have outlined above we can adopt Les’ mantra that control provides focus. The two are not mutually exclusive. So, whether you are an actor preparing to go on stage, a manager waiting to speak with your staff or simply a parent talking with your child, the best place to be is to be silent, focused and in control. It follows then that your performance (whatever the audience), will be focused and in control. And, believe it or not, it will contain moments of sublime, gripping silence.

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One of the greatest powers an actor or an orator has during a performance/speech is the pause, ‘the Art of Silence’. Regardless of whether you are performing, comedy, farce, dramas, coarse theatre, physical theatre, or simply speaking to people the medium/genre is irrelevant because it is the pausing, the silence that is paramount. Imagine comedy without a pause for timing, the silence of actors as they wait for a door to open in a thrilling drama, the supposed ‘mis-timing’ which gives rise to an ‘awkward’ pause in a coarse theatre piece. These are all pauses, all moments of silence that add the vast array of colour to a theatrical show. The skill and mastery of silence comes with time, patience and the undying practise of the craft. Only then will we truly appreciate just how powerful silence is…

Just pause for a moment.

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “The Art of Silence

  1. Some rare insights. Very nice. Stillness and silence are exceedingly rare in our profoundly egoic world. Ego is unherently noisy, frenetic and ambitious; perhaps in order to compensate for ‘unspoken’ insecurities. Retirement has gifted me with a lovely space for silent peaceful reflection and awareness.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Shane. Another thought that resonates. For me, I call it the “creative quiets”. I need the silence within to process, analyse and regroup. It’s like a lull before the storm. I really enjoy reading your blogs- thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Love this. The pauses that one may consider voids streaming between conversations and movements are so much more. They effortlessly shape the gait, a running foundation on which the theatre, art or the artist can tap dance on. Little pockets of silence are where we fall to and find the drive for all that surfaces above .

    Like

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