The Soul of the American Actor

“Life is meaningless without art.” 
- Karen Finley

“Above all, you must remain open and fresh and alive to any new idea.”
- Laurence Olivier

“The body does not have memory.  It is memory.” 
- Jerzy Grotowski

“In everything, without doubt, truth has the advantage over imitation.”
- Cicero

“The actor must constantly remember that he is on the stage for the sake of the public.”
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“One wishes to know something but the answer is in a form of being more aware – of being open to a richer level of experience.” 
- Peter Brook


Articles

Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance - London’s International Drama School

Washington, D.C.'s Studio Theatre

San Francisco Ballet

Grand Ball in the Belle Epoch - Edwardian Period Style Salon Workshop

Keegan Theatre

Pan Asian Repertory Theatre Celebrates its 39th Anniversary

MetroStage Theatre

Swine Palace Theatre

Asolo Repertory Theatre

Ontological-Hysteric Theatre

Amelia Community Theatre

Discovering Lunt & Fontanne

Harlem Repertory Theatre

Santa Fe Playhouse

Opera Colorado

National Hispanic Cultural Center

Red Eagle Soaring Native Youth Theatre

Lorraine Hansberry Theatre

Coatlicue Theater Company

London's Finborough Theatre

New Repertory Theatre in Boston

The Work of Yat Malmgren: Christopher Fettes’ New Book “A Peopled Labyrinth”

Terry Knickerbocker Studio in New York City

“How do we re-establish a culture of caring?  There are many things that we can and do. The arts can help. Becoming educated – but having a good education doesn’t necessarily mean that a person knows how to be a “caring” person. It’s time to re-define what “being human” means. What is it that makes us different from animals? Mainly, it’s when we accept the discipline of “being human.” When we genuinely care about each other.”
- Rita Fredricks

 “To flourish, society depends on a strong cultural heritage as well as innovation. The challenge is to breathe new life into the arts. Creativity is at the heart of every successful nation. It finds expression in great visual art, wonderful music, fabulous performances, stunning writing, gritty new productions and countless other media. Giving form to our innate human creativity is what defines us to ourselves and the world. This is what the arts have always done. The lasting value and evidence of a civilization are its artistic output and the ingenuity that comes from applying creativity to the whole range of human endeavor. What is education if it doesn't teach our children to think creatively and innovatively? What use is a robust economy unless it is within an innovative country that can attract and stimulate the world? How can good governance exist without a population that is engaged, educated and able to form its own opinions?” 
- Excerpt from an essay, “Reviving a creative nation,”
by Cate Blanchett and Julianne Schultz, April 16, 2008,
For
the Creative Australia Stream at the 2020 Summit

Gathering of Condolence, Strength and Peace

jake_swamp.jpg“We have gifts and knowledge to share with the world, but we can’t do this if we have not been healed of our anger from the stories of grief told to us by our ancestors.  That healing will be the purpose of the gathering of condolence.”  - Tekaronianeken (Jake Swamp), Wolf Clan of the Mohawk Nation, October 2010.

The Elder Tekaroniaken Jake Swamp passed on to the spirit world on October 2010. He left us behind to fulfill the instructions of our ancestors.  To honor his dream, a gathering of Indigenous leaders, women, youth, and elders from Abya Yala, the Americas, took place on the banks of the Mississippi River betweenJune 18th–24th, 2012, so people can receive condolence, strength, and inner peace to reaffirm their right to walk the same way as our ancestors once did.

headwaters

Elders have said that long before 1492, grand conventions were held in this area to share our Indigenous knowledge. These elders describe the conventions as large gatherings that reinforced trade networks and introduced innovations, inventions, and adaptations and strengthened relationships.  Great spiritual and traditional significance is tied to the gathering, taking place at the Mississippi Headwaters. 

jake_swamp.jpgFor Jake Swamp, the intension of this gathering is to bring Indigenous Peoples to the banks of the Mississippi river so that they can receive consolation, strength and inner peace, and reaffirm once again, to the world, that Indigenous Nations of this Continent reaffirm their right to walk the same way as their ancestors did. The northern tribes will help their brothers cross the river and so like that they will have heard the man who tapped Jake on the shoulder and ask him to help the people on the other side of the river. The ceremony that will take place will be based on the custom and traditions of the Haudenosaunee Nation.

Jake Swamp, Tekaroniaken, a Haudenosaunee elder had a dream about a river and people who could not lift their heads, a hand touched his shoulder and told him, you have to help them.  For years he sought to understand his dream and then the vision came to him. Indigenous Peoples need to grieve in order to heal. The pain that stems from the atrocities committed against our people is still present in our communities.  It is imbedded in our collective memory.  We have passed on our traditions orally from generation to generation.  We have passed on our pain as well.  If pain is not dealt with, if we do not grieve, the pain will consume us.  And so it is.  We have abhorrent rates of alcoholism, drug abuse, suicide, incarceration, domestic violence, and child abuse.   

In this time of great pain and confusion, Jake Swamp’s dream, his vision, evokes the need to heal and the spirit of hope for a new time to come.  His dream and vision offers us a way to close the wounds that Indigenous Peoples have collectively suffered.

The following is the dream that elder Jake Swamp had, and which has now been supported and sponsored by Indigenous Peoples from the East and the West of the United States and Canada, as well as from Indigenous Peoples from the rest of the Americas.

headwaters

“In my dream I was standing there at the river. Looking across the river I saw many people walking toward the river on the opposite side, they were wearing white clothing and wearing red bandanas and belts around their waists. They moved slowly and very sad looking, as if troubled with head hanging and looking at the ground. As I was looking I saw a hand appear on my shoulder from the back. It was a man’s hand but I didn’t see him, I only heard his voice directed to me. He said, ‘onta:on enseia’takenha thikon,’ meaning, you have to help them. From that time I searched for the meaning of the dream.  For two years I asked myself, what did it mean? Finally, one day I was teaching a group of youth the time when we received our clan system in ancient times. The teaching involved the river and how it was set up to remove grief. I started to think deeply and realized that our Indigenous Peoples are carrying a great burden of grief caused by the colonization of the past five hundred years. Then I thought of the Mississippi River.  Would it be possible to bring leaders and elders to the river and have a Great Condolence Ceremony? For the past four years I had thought daily in how it could be done. Now it has become a reality and native nations from the South and Central America, the Western U.S., Mexico, Canada and the Northwest Territories would stand together on the Western side of the river. From the Artic North, Northern Canada, and the Eastern U.S. will stand together on the Eastern side of the river. There the Great Condolence Ceremony would be performed to console each other [in this New Time, the time of flourishment.]” The Elder Tekaroniaken Jake Swamp passed on to the spirit world on October 2010.

The Rekindle the Fire Council represents both the East and West Councils listed below. These councils were formed in 2010 to organize the Gathering of Condolence, Strength and Peace. The objective was to bring together Indigenous people from the North and the South.

In 1990, Indigenous Peoples from virtually every Indigenous nation of the continent met in Quito, Ecuador to proclaim the prophesy of the Eagle and of the Condor. The Continental Council of Indigenous Nations and Organizations of the Continent (CONIC) led this Continental Movement. In 2000, along with the Peace and Dignity Runs, the Continental Movement met in Teotihuacan and accords took place to continue coordinating efforts that would bring together Indigenous Peoples from North and South. In 2004, the Continental Council, invited by the Mayans, met in Guatemala where the Mayans “untied” the Continental Fire to prepare for the closing of the count of Venus in 2012. This passing of time would assure us that prophesy of the Eagle and the Condor would bring together all Indigenous Nations to retake their spiritual and existential path as sovereign spiritual nations. Our brothers the Mayans also knew that this healing ceremony needed to happen in the North.

We know that the time for change has come. The healing process is underway, and Indigenous Peoples from across this continent have made every attempt to reunite so the borders imposed may cease to be an impediment for the Continental Unity of Indigenous Peoples from Abya Yala (the Americas). The West Council includes: Darkfeather, Tulalip, Washington, Eric Noyes, American Indian Institute, James Maestas, Chicano, Atrisco, Aztlan, Jorge Garcia, Mexica, Atrisco, Aztlan, Kathy Sanchez, San Idelfonso Pueblo, NM, Pablo Lopez, Apache, Atrisco, NM, Pin Poquin Lewis, Tesuque Pueblo, NM, Rafail Reyes, Mexica, Izcalotlan, Aztlan, Tupac Enrique, Mexica, Izkalotlan, Aztlan, Yolanda Teran, Quechua, Ecuador, and Vickie Downey, Tesuque, Pueblo. The East Council includes: Kahontineh Swamp, East Mohawk, Bearfox, Jerry Fontaine, Canada, Tracy Thomas, Onondaga, Leona Phillips, Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Lakota, NY, Renee Gurneau, Red Earth, Minnesota, Elizabeth Nanticoke, Joe Phillips, Glenn Swamp, Dan Wilson, Cass Lake, Minnesota,  and Jennifer Wemigwans, Ontario, Canada. For info: visit www.rise2012.com, rise@rise2012.com, vickiedowney@hotmail.com, Kahontineh.swaml@ambe.ca.


 


"It is a law of life that man cannot live for himself alone. Extreme individualism is insanity. The world's problems are also our personal problems. Health is achieved through maintaining our personal truth in a balanced relation of love to the rest of the world. No expression is more emblematic of this relation than the creative act which we call art. No art by its very constitution typifies the social nature of that creative act more than the theatre. The theatre, to be fully understood and appreciated, must be seen as a manifestation of this process of interchange between society and the individual. It must be judged as a continuous development of groups of individuals within society, a development which becomes richer, acquires greater force and value as it grows with the society in which it originates. Only in this way can the theatre nourish us.  - Harold Clurman

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