A SOCIALIST’S RANT (Stuart McKenzie/ Anat Ben-David)

BAND (Ben-David)


3- part exhibition of performance videos, available for show; contact: ABD

The works presented in A SOCIALIST’S RANT screening make use of Bertolt Brecht’s technique of alienation of the character, a theatrical technique that was defining the revolutionary moment relating to new social movements before World War II.  That notion of seeing the character from “the outside” gave the artist/actor, a critical point of view on the character he/she was portraying.

The idea was that the actor is not being led by “bigger forces” that tell him/her what to do, but that the artist/actor uses his/her own criticality and awareness when creating and acting a character.  As a result the power stays with them as free human beings.  This allows them to taking matters into their own hands, and they themselves become revolutionaries.

These notions also relate to the court jester who has the power of criticality – he is the “voice of the people” because he is out of society and therefore can speak his mind and channel the peoples’ concerns through humour.

The Post-Ubermarionette Technique.
Reaching alienation through technology and de-fragmentation of the body.
I started developing this technique in the early 1990 while studying in the visual theatre school in Jerusalem (1992-1994), and then as the artist of residency at the Habama theatre Jerusalem (1994-1999).
Über das Marionettentheater by Heinrich von Kleist 1810, Published in the early 1900. and later, The Actor and the Übermarionette" of 1908, Edward Gordon Craig.
Describes the convincing performance of the puppet (with no ego) and the freedom of the puppeteer to express and “loose them selves” through the action of the puppet, thus reaching total honesty of expression. (Craig then tries to translate this into a theatrical technique using a mask)
Both Kleist and Craig take the idea of the puppet/puppeteer relationship into the notion of the actor being able (or not able) to create that same magical effect as the puppet with their bodies.
Later on Brecht and Stanislavsky (using different methods) in their teaching, talked about the alienation of the actor from his/her own self (Brecht) or expression through action that is coming from a separate place as a theatrical technique.
Brecht’s alienation technique, and Stanislavsky’s focus on physical actions inspiring truthful emotion reaching the subconscious through the conscious…
Through combining the three notions of the Ubermarionette, alienation and physical actions as a way to reach the expression of true emotions, I’ve developed a technique which allows the performer and the viewer to step back from the “real person”, and through technological manipulation create the “character”, by the performer/s physically  “seeing themselves from the outside” (as in alienation) and being able to direct the character formed, while having a critical view.

Anat Ben-David 2008