Antunes Filho
Interview by Rafael Gallardo

"Magician" by Rafael Gallardo

    There was a time in my life in which I did not want to do theatre anymore, because I saw in the theatre a very gross thing, made with passion, with muscles and without any delicacy, without any sensitivity.  I don't like the theatre of the passions, nor the theatre of the feelings.  I am against the feelings and the passion:  I want a theatre of the sensitivity.
    You may ask, what is the difference between the sensitivity, and the passion and feelings?  It is big.  The sensitivity is a superior thing.  When you write poetry, write a novel, a theatre's piece, you leave the things in the drawer for awhile, six months; then you re-take them and re-do them.  It means: 'I don't want to be influenced by the quotidian, nor my passions, nor my feelings.  I want certain distance to cultivate, process, develop my sensibility.
    I say that sensibility is the Gods' feeling, if one works with spirituality.  Sensibility is linked to spirituality; the feeling is linked to the things, the objects, to the day by day pragmatism, to the egoism.  The sensitivity is linked to Love, a superior thing.

    In that moment I did not want to do theatre, a brutal thing, of pre-rating, geometric, of cause and effect, Cartesian, Newtonian, in which I was not interested anymore.  How could I get out of that situation?
    It was then when I encountered a sensitive way to do theatre, a way I wanted to see in theatre.
    When I read poetry I go to a state of spirituality that I don't have when I see theatre, which may impresses me, but doesn't achieve the superior instance, doesn't achieve the superior mind.
    That was the first procedure, to quit theatre.  I didn't want to do anymore theatre.  And bit by bit I was finding the way, because I believe in the "artists of theatre" as fine artists, the great poets.  The best tennis player of a country has to be a great actor; but it is easier.  As well as poetry:  everybody does it, but a few of them, among each ten million people only one shall be a real poet.  I have known a few poets in my life.  I have read a lot of them, and a few are poets: to make poetry is very easy; to be a poet is other thing.
    To me the actor is some kind of poet.  If I say 'the actors are poets', then they have to be also fine artists, a Donatello, a Rodin, Picasso, Paul Klee, Kandinsky.  The actor is a synthesis, has to be a synthesis.  This is why I condemn so much the naturalism, which is a way of escaping for the actor.  The naturalism turns itself into 'natural' when the actor uses the feelings, the catch, the be-catch by a character.  Also it is a form of alienation.
    An actor is a great player, designing all the time, everything designed, everything done with the conjugation of both brain lobes, left and right.  We have in the forehead's center the callous body that equalizes the harmony between the two things: there we are heading to a superior instance.
     My main concern is sensitivity all the time.  I either do a theatre that has poetry, or I'm not interested in it.  And yet another thing: I don't accredit any theatre  school.  The people, the persons, first come to be great people, superior persons; not superiors in the race sense, but in the sense of the mind, the intelligence, the kindness, the generosity, the nobleness, the love to thy neighbor; not egoistic love, but selfless love.  It is fundamental; there most be a great initiation, one has to torn into a monk, and then go to do theatre, or not: it is not important.  What is important is that you achieve first to be a human being.
    The difficulty in my work process lies in this sense, to find "man/woman-monks", to then do theatre, or not to do it.  Theatre is not a discipline; it is a trans-discipline.  In order to do theatre, I don't have to study theatre: I have to study the humanity, and then to study the specifics of theatre.  This is the proposition of this spectacle, where I started with this method, and it is going on.  I am starting the truth of a spiritual process.  This is in this sense: I work very much with the new physics and Buddhism.    I believe that the men -I mean, my actors- are very ancient people.  They have lived for thousands of years in the top of a mountain.  One day they say to each other: "let's go down there to the community."  Other one asks: "What for?"  "Let's go down there to tell a fable."  "But, why?"  "To the people?  A fable?"  Then they resolve if walking down the mountain, to tell something, or to remain in the mountain's top, in their timelessness.
    Do you see the unicorn?  The unicorn's light, the equilibrium of the hemispheres, of the intelligence and intuition: it is what we are looking for.

    It is what I wanted to talk to you about. I want that my actors don't be naturalistic, because naturalism does not matter for the actors.  It is for the television actors.  Naturalism is: "I pretend to be natural."  The actor has to play, has to be Picasso; all the time pretending to be natural, like Picasso with his famous work Guernica, he has done everything to give naturalism with intelligence, with sensitivity.  The actors too.
    Naturalism does not matter, they are young all the time, but pretending to be natural.  The 'natural' is not their strength; it is in the scene, and the actors are two, each one is two, a dichotomy: the monks that are behind, and the people that play with your time and space; even if it is here or there, it is feigned, because time and space are illusions.  They are behind with the eyes, those eyes that see from the mountain's top.  This is the essence of this proposition that we are starting.

    I intend to work with the equilibrium of the two hemispheres, and its dialectic is very relative: each actor is one; none is equal to the others.  Y have to to be with great attention to see how I can do.  After they sign in the Sao Paulo's course, they remain with the monitors for six months and the best of them go to other superior level, and so on, until arriving to the group.  It is always renewing.  I want to work only with the monks.  I think that within two or three years I will have some initiates.  Initiates for the whole life.
     I appreciate very much the freedom.  People talk about freedom as a slogan.  But freedom is another thing: you cannot have egoism.  If you are an egoistic person, you don't have freedom.  In Buddhism is said:  a man is only free when he knows how to build or destroy what he makes; what comes from nature has to be immediately returned; if it is not returned, one is not free.
    This is very clear, very fair.  Then I appreciate everyone's freedom.  It is fundamental.  When I talk about freedom I mean wide freedom.
    I don't attempt the beautiful things.  I attempt only processes.  Y have a strong fine-painting background.  I always lived in the museums around  the world.
    Of course, what is wanted from sensibility?  To conquer culture.  How can I be free without culture?  How can we talk about freedom if we don't have consciousness?  And how can we have consciousness if we don't have culture?
    The fundamental for the freedom you may have is the cultural principle to achieve the freedom; other way you will be libertine, but not free.

    Now, the main thing, I don't direct the work; I place a process, and the process develops itself measuring my behavior and the actors'.  I don't worry about the scene proposition: the process takes care of it.  I don't mind about the colors: the colors come alone, everything comes by itself through the process.  The Master arrives only when you are ready.  The colors only arrive when you are ready; the scene's set-up only arrives when you are ready, not before, but after.  We need to be open to receive the masters, always ready to receive them.  Many times I'm not ready, because it cannot be forced, either they arrive or they don't.  Many times I do a piece that doesn't come up.  The masters don't come up because I didn't prepared well enough for them to come, because the masters come from ourselves; they are inside and outside of us.
    We are not holograms, we are not automata.  The hole Universe is inside myself, and everything that is over there is also over here, and everything that is here is there, with frequencies: we are here for awhile.  Everything is a frequency; it is an illusion where we are.
    The actor, to work his/her role, has to become distant to be the monk and the to feign the things for you.  I don't provide the texts, they literally come to me, emerging; it is a street in the art: they do what has to be done.   I will do this or that because they have a common ground, something significant to knit.  And regarding the work with the actors there is this harmony author-director-actor always as the same person: the harmony of things, a working process.
    It cannot be seen in a different way.  I understand when an actor doesn't want to do so:  "Why have I to do something I'm not interested in?"  I would do what corresponds to what I feel at a given moment.  It is that simple.  People like to complicate things.  One has to be alive to breathe; breathe to be fine with nature.  To breathe, to be fine with nature.  In my spectacle there is consciousness of breathing, of today's world; I take expression from the breathing itself, because it is the most important concept currently for the human kind, to breathe; and, is all that breathing for the actors, to be in contact with nature?  That is not true, it is also an expression for the attendance, to rescue the most important thing that is herself, the nature that is simultaneously inside and outside of me.
     I am the nature, I am the tree, the plant, I am the flower, I am animal, I am everything, and everything organic -the stones are also organic.