When we talk about theater, we first talk about actors as they give life to a whole story, which unfolds just before our eyes. Now, what is a good actor, what does his work consist of and what is his aptitude to play the role of a character other than himself? These are very deep and complex questions. Because what can lead an individual to want to play a role, to put himself in the shoes of another person? An actor is someone who is able to identify with someone other than himself and who can blend completely with his character to a much higher degree than an ordinary man (or woman) would do. Usually, we observe beings especially from the outside. We look at the eyes, the hair, the gestures made by others, or their behavior, as we would observe a landscape or an object, from the outside. The actor himself, often without even realizing it, is capable of capturing what one might call the “life” of the person he is observing; not just the vitality or the way he moves or walks, no! It is much deeper that! The life flows from inside the person in question. Everything then depends on the quality of the actors themselves because this sense of observation, particularly acute and deep, is linked to a greater sensitivity than that is usually encountered which in turn has many degrees. The more sensitive the actor, the more he will capture in number, intensity and finesse the person he observes and whom he aspires to know in depth.
This faculty specific to his sensitivity is generally brought with him in this life as the fruit of his soul, acquired during happy and painful human experiences lived during his previous incarnations. This sensitivity is not the result of school learning; it is an achievement acquired through life experiences and is part of the riches of the soul of the actor concerned. Then, the person concerned can take training as a theater actor to acquire certain techniques that are useful, moreover necessary, to fulfil his profession or art.
However, the background, the talent or the gift, is already in his soul, even though he chose to be born into a family of actors. If indeed he was born in a family of actors, it may facilitate his process in this life but it does not concern the origin of his faculties, of his gift.
In respect to what we have just outlined, there is, in the psychic structure of the actor, the desire to know and, at the same time, to experience the character of his choice. The actor is eager to put himself in the shoes of the person he will be on stage; and that, not just for fun or for change, but out of inner necessity, out of love. One could even say that the more sincere and elevated his love for the person with whom he identifies himself, the more he will manage to descend into the character in question, to merge into him.
Here we touch on another aspect of the profession of actor, that of identification or of fusion. Because putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, as an actor or actress does, is, so to speak, not without danger. Without wanting to dramatize, let us say the reality is that any actor knows perfectly well that by playing the role of a certain character, he will for a certain time, become that person internally. Of course, if the actor knows his craft, he has certainly been given tips and techniques to make sure he doesn’t get lost (too much) in his role, in the character he plays on stage. Nonetheless, despite everything, the fact of identifying with someone other than yourself has psychological, mathematical consequences. This falls under a law, linked to the phenomenon of identification, against which one can protect oneself to a certain extent, but never completely. In practice, this means that something that is related to the character played by the actor ‘rubs off’ on him. Once the scene is over, there remain traces, even imperceptible ones, which cling to the aura of the actor and which continue for some time to act on him, internally, psychically. Often, the actor will naturally tend to choose such or such role that speaks to him or corresponds to him. This implies that the psychological effect that the role has on him is already very close to who he is himself, to what he is experiencing, or that he seeks to live in this phase of his life, for one reason or another.
However, this is not always the case. For many actors, this is their livelihood and very few are aware of the true strength of this form of identification. After performing certain roles on stage, many actors seek to shake off the negative effects these have had on them, by resorting to alcohol, drugs, or the abuse of sexuality. However, the real difficulty lies elsewhere. It relies on the fact that the chosen roles are far from embodying ideals and they are even harmful to their psyche. If one is very strong, very stable internally, one can eventually afford to play the roles of unhappy characters whose fate are filled with adversity and who are struck by life; that is not inherently bad. Although, in these situations, the actor will need to have the resources to pull, say inwardly, the characters in question out of their swamp, to bring them upward, into the light. However, this is only possible if they are aware of the (spiritual) purpose of their experience, if they have understood the deep question of life and destiny of the character that they play on stage, if they have grasped the nature of learning related to the events that go through the person with whom one identifies. Without this deeper approach, there is a risk of psychically integrating the life experience of the character we play to the point of carrying remnants that will become a burden.
Furthermore, this deeper spiritual approach not only allows us to neutralize the side effects of the less glorious roles featured on stage but it truly elevates one immediately to a much higher rank. In the future, actors should be trained beyond directing techniques to ennoble each role above its purely human level. We are talking here about the domain of the soul where we are taught the meaning of human experience, the purpose of the existence of evil, pain and suffering. Some roles and scenarios that are lightheartedly staged right now are likely to be set aside for their lack of meaning regarding the life of the soul. This does not mean, however, that all evil is bad, and must be rooted out a priori. The profession or art of the actor of the future presents this challenge: to learn to discern between the uplifting and dispiriting roles and to know how to transform (inwardly) the negative aspects of certain roles or characters by bringing them to the consciousness of the soul, to the goal of their experience considered from a spiritual point of view.