Acting as a form of dialogue
Posted by Dominika Mickiewicz i Anna Wocka
Interview with Beata Tyszkiewicz, Polish actress famous for such film productions as 'Zemsta,' 'Komediantka,' and 'Mniejsze Niebo' (Revenge, Comedian and Smaller Heaven). She has been credited for her contributions to Polish cinematography with numerous awards and decorations, including the Order of Polonia Restituta (the Order of Rebirth of Poland).
According to Stanislawski, 'the aim of the art of acting is to create human life, the soul of a stage character and to deliver it in an artistic form.' How much room is there left for an actor, playing a role in which one should become someone else, to express oneself?
Beata Tyszkiewicz: An actor is a comedian in the best meaning of the word. He serves the character, he loves it as if it was himself regardless of its' nature and that's probably what he starts with - at standing up for its rights. Subjective rights, of course.
Should the actors' contact with the audience be considered indirect or direct?
Tyszkiewicz: There are actors who act for the audience and who are aware of its' presence, but there are also those who lose themselves in their drama and they act regardless of the audience, for their own inner satisfaction.
Can the contact with the audience develop as a dialogue? What is the form of the audience' response?
Tyszkiewicz: It depends on the audience. There are cases when the audience is an organized group of people who is tired after a whole day of sightseeing around the capital and ends up falling asleep in the theatre. There are also those who regard the theatre as a temple of art and dress festively. A dialogue with the audience? There are such theatres. Theatres also undergo transformations. Naked characters bustling around on the stage are also to be found.
A true actor is convincing on the stage, but to what extent may he use this ability in everyday contacts with people?
Tyszkiewicz: This is how civilians think. An actor leaves his characters in the dressing-room together with his costume. Actors possess the ease of contact in their lives, because when they are on stage, they look for ways to reach the spectator. But this is their charm.
When communicating with different people on an everyday basis, does the acting, coded somewhere in the mind, hinder or facilitate the expression of one's own feelings?
Tyszkiewicz: As I have said, it facilitates expression, but there are also actors who are very shy, yet they become powerful when on the stage.
The Pope considered acting, as well as other forms of art, to be a wonderful way of conveying feelings and truths inexpressible by other means. What kinds of messages seem inexpressible to you by means of a medium other than acting?
Tyszkiewicz: The Pope had the strength of a hero, maybe theatre gave him the strength to stand on stage whatever happened.
It is said that Pope John Paul II was able to move crowds due to his traits of a true actor. What are the traits of an actor that allow speakers to create such a close rapport with the audience?
Tyszkiewicz: Well, the most important trait is… credibility. The Pope carried it in the person he was.
When watching the speeches of John Paul II, did you notice the soul of an actor in him? How did it manifest?
Tyszkiewicz: First of all, he was credible in his speeches. Despite that, he was very beautiful, beautiful as a man... his intentions were clear. In every country and all around the world.
Even one glance at a good speaker allows us to see the truth in his words. What is it, in your opinion as an actress, that the Polish leading politicians lack in order to achieve credibility in their speeches?
Tyszkiewicz: I believe that in order to achieve credibility, one must keep his promises, and that's what our politicians lack.
You're describing credibility as a crucial trait in communication. What other traits of a speaker may, in your opinion, support the intercultural dialogue?
Tyszkiewicz: They should value their own words and not only talk, talk and talk. One has to try to meet the needs of people, understand their point of views. One has to enter their customs, faith, traditions. People are not alike.
Nowadays, the intercultural dialogue is very often conducted by means of various exhibitions presenting a given country and its views, or by means of conferences, organized for this purpose, as well as through music events. Do you think that theatre may also support such a kind of dialogue?
Tyszkiewicz: All these forms are supportive, but the most important medium is probably television as it reaches millions of viewers. Media should treat their viewers more seriously. After all, it's not only about filling up the TV line-up. They should start believing in the intelligence of their audience.
What are your forecasts when it comes to the development of our civilizations? The newest technologies, quickly expanding economies, a faster pace of living... How does this influence people's spiritual condition?
Tyszkiewicz: People's spirituality is cowed... it's barely breathing. Of course there are people of strong characters and great faith and this does not apply to them, but normal working people who can barely find time to rest vacuously can't defend themselves. Television stupefies them, it substitutes thinking... provides cribs and hodgepodge. It gives the appearance of being part of the world... a very misleading appearance.
What do you think are the best and most effective actions to unite people of different nationalities and religions?
Tyszkiewicz: The most effective unification of people is by means of danger. Sometimes it's trauma such as that which we witnessed during John Paul II's sickness and death. Sometimes we are united by a sports event.
Can Poles make use of the capital that was created and left to us by John Paul II, now that he is no longer with us?
Tyszkiewicz: We all love John Paul II, but we don't remember his teachings. We don't remember because it's inconvenient.
Are we aware that the Polish Pope was Poland's brand?
Tyszkiewicz: I don't like the word 'brand'. We were proud because he was Polish, because he lived normally just like the rest of us, he rowed kayaks, skied, baptized children, married couples and was an actor. He was recognizable all over the world, respected and loved, but he also met with people who had waited for him in many parts of the world.
Is there currently a person that can replace him - play such an important role for Poles and the confounded world?
Tyszkiewicz: Authorities are dying and I don't see them being reborn. Appearances can be deceptive. Appearances make it seem that there is a need for authorities, but Poles always have their 'but'... And so they effectively undermine their greatness.
Photographs by Judyta Papp ©
15 July, 2011