Today in rehearsal we played “Hot Seat”. A character from the Ibsen play “The Pillar of the Community” is chosen to sit in the center and has to answer any question without any lies either from the play or within the character. Its a challenge to stay there and not step away inside when I can’t think of the answer the way I would if I really were Mrs Bernick….
There is a place deep inside myself that I only open up when I feel safe… which is not often. I have dedicated a large part of my life to creating drama to share. But how can I do that when I’m not open to connect my heart and emotions with the text? I am no longer communicating outward but am using my energy to shell myself, protect myself inward, away from others. The characters in this play by Ibsen are forcing me, like a old true friend to look at my inner self and see what everyone else already does.
How extraordinary to have the chance to see myself as others do, with my own eyes.
Karsten Bernick has a dilemma in the play “A Pillar of the Community” by Ibsen.
Does he tell the truth, or does he continue a lie of convience that has been festering for years ? What do you do when you are faced with the results of your poor choice ?
I believe part of the reason that this play is not as well known as the others by Ibsen is there is a driving force to make you look within. At the part of you that you want to hold private. The comfortable position that observers would take would have Mr Bernick suffer in some way for his lies. Instead he seems to get away with it. How un-comfortable.
What would I do? Tell the truth, or hold out as long as I could ? I’m really not sure.
The name of this blog is a Play on Words. It seemed so clever to have the word play in the title. But sometimes words aren’t clever and they aren’t playing. They can be a vehicle for laughter or become the single most painful weapon.
It would be too easy to enjoy the drama world in a silly and giddy way, but as with all other art forms you have to have contrast. I was thinking back over the years of Elements plays and they have all had comedy and tragedy, joy and sorry, misunderstanding and clarity. The first and only time I saw the Dining Room it was so balanced between hurt and kindness, the laughable and the cry-able that I could only stand it once. I thought about it for days after. I’m still not sure what happened…
Isn’t that what makes Drama great ? The believable strong contrast that changes your life, even if you don’t know how.
Life is like that. Isn’t it ?
I was thinking about the first time I heard the Elements group read through The Pillars of the Community by Ibsen, and how Pride is singularly human ….Animals live in the moment and while they can be embarrassed I believe it is more because they don’t know what is expected of them rather than they are proud of who they are and are brought down by something.
One of the characters by the name Karsten Bernick goes through all sorts of deceit and manipulation of facts to protect his pride in his reputation. As I listened to this character go through all of his dishonest ways I was very uncomfortable. Sometimes honest transparency is like that.