Sunday, January 09, 2011

Black Swan

I saw Black Swan today, and it was a fascinating film. Director Darren Aronofsky doesn't shy away from the brutal discipline required for ballet, and I love his use of Swan Lake for this "play within a play." Natalie Portman's character, Nina, has to go from being a precise perfectionist, people-pleasing dancer to an artist who can abandon precision for that true perfect state of transcendent freedom. She has a total meltdown, trying to bring out the Black Swan within herself, and it's thrilling to watch.

It's also an interesting notion: What do we have to destroy or bring out in ourselves to achieve a higher art?

Obviously, you don't have to go mad to achieve great art. The director and actors in Black Swan aren't mad. In fact, they're brilliant. And I think that's the thing we're all trying to achieve as artists: To take our technical lessons, the work we've done, and then let it go, let it flow.

As actors, we're often told to "let go," and "get out of your own way," to transcend technique to allow the real art to flow.

I know when I've been onstage and have been so utterly in the moment, flowing with the playwright's words, or the music of a song, something magical happens, and there's this connection of artists, artistry and audience. Everything is flowing and alive, and it's magical!

So I came out of this movie, thinking, How can we build ourselves up instead of tearing ourselves down? What is beautiful? And what makes you feel beautiful?

I'd be interested to know.

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