“But for the rule and the compass, the square and the circle could not be determined;
but for the plumb-line, the straight and the bent could not be rectified.” Zen expression.
What are the tools used in the theatre? They are unlike any other tool used in other forms. The actor’s tools are his voice, body, and brain. These tools are constricted by the rigid form of the theatre.
Just think of how strange the theatre is. People saying other people’s words. Displaying all sorts of emotions not normally shown in public. Pretending not to notice a group of people who are watching them. If you were to describe the theatre to an alien from outer space, he would have a hard time comprehending its form. There are all sorts of guidelines of acceptable behavior to follow.
These rules are good. They give structure to the art. We all have to learn the rules so completely that they become second nature. The rules start out very basic, but the more we examine the rules, the more the rules test us. A simple rule like – stand in the light – has a hundred layers to comprehend. Of course you want to be seen but what is the light doing to your body? What kind of light is it? How can you use the light more effectively? And so on.
Every rule once learned, must be fully comprehended. With each new technical development and with each new theory or technique, these rules have to be reexamined and redefined.