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Record Type: Review   ID: 832

The Way of the Actor: A Path to Knowledge & Power

Bates, Brian

As the following quotations from this stimulating book indicate, it connects acting with shamanism, the paranormal, and self-realization. From my viewpoint, it is about performing our EHEs. It is also about acting as a project of transcendence. "Actors occupy a very special status in traditional societies. They are people chosen for their abilities to communicate directly with the 'spirit world'; the powers and forces of life that we know to exist but cannot see, visions of truth that lie beyond our normal senses. Actor shamans manifest the 'spirit' in the dramatic performance, in which they are believed to 'fly' to the spirit world, or be possessed by and become the spirits themselves. This view of actors as people with extraordinary abilities is still widespread in Oriental cultures, and in South America and Africa. But in times past, hundreds of years ago, actors in western societies also performed the role of visionary, healer and sage. Actors were essentially performing mystics" (p. 3).

"For an actor outer action unconnected to inner stillness appears frantic. Finding a personal center, a point of power, and linking it strongly with external action is the basis of an actor's presence; the capacity to hold the attention and command the concentration of the audience. It is a presence which goes beyond the mere physical and, as we shall see, edges into that 'twilight zone' of science we label 'paranormal'" (p. 5).

"This book reveals, through the experiences of today's actors, what it is that actors have to teach us about ourselves. Finding our inner identity. Changing ourselves. Realizing and integrating our life experience. Seeing life freshly and with insight into others. Becoming aware of the powers of our mind. Risking and commitment. Learning how to concentrate our lives into the present, and the secrets of presence and charisma. Extending our sense of who we are, and achieving liberation from restricted concepts of what a person is. Getting in touch with our psychic powers, and communicating with others in that realm" (p. 9).

Publisher Information:Boston, MA: Shambhala, 1988. 216p. Bibl: 210-213; Chap. notes: 206-209; Name Index: 214-216
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