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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Speech and Drama
GA 282

XV. The esoteric Aspect of the Actor's Vocation

19 September 1924, Dornach

My dear Friends,

Every artistic activity has also its esoteric side. For the work that we carry on as artists has to receive its impulses from the spiritual world, and must therefore be rooted in the esoteric. If we forget this, if we forget that all genuine art springs from the spiritual world, then we must either resign ourselves to be guided by rules, or submit to an inartistic naturalism. To routine and mannerisms, or to a naturalism that is lacking in art—to one or the other we are condemned if we forget that what we create artistically has always, without exception, to receive its form from the formative activity of the spirit.

In the art of the stage it is important to remember that we are ourselves the instrument with which we have to work. We have accordingly to succeed in objectifying ourselves to the point where we can be such an instrument, so that we can play upon the organisation of our body as we would, for example, on some musical instrument. That, first of all. And then, standing as it were by the side of our own acting, we have also continually to be taking the most ardent and intense interest in every single word and action that we engage in on the stage.

It is of this twofold aim that I want to speak to you today. In striving to attain it, the actor will be developing a right feeling for his vocation; he will be drawing near to the esoteric—even to the esoteric that belongs to him as an actor.

For you must know, a grave danger lies in wait for the actor, threatens, in fact, more or less everyone who takes any part at all in the work of the stage. The danger is greatest, or has been so in the more decadent days of the art, for those actors who are favourites with the public; they are exposed to it most of all. I mean the danger of becoming so absorbed in the world of the stage as to lose connection with the real world outside. Again and again one makes the acquaintance of actors who have very little feeling or perception for what is happening in real life, who simply do not know the world. They have a thorough knowledge of this or that character in Shakespeare or in Goethe or Schiller. They know Wilhelm Tell, they know Hamlet, Macbeth, Richard II. They know an extravagantly frivolous character out of some comedy or other. In effect they know the world in its reflection in drama, but they do not know real men and women. This state of things can often spread farther and begin to show itself in a section of the public. Do we not frequently have the experience that when we begin to speak of some catastrophe that has taken place, then if someone is present who has any sort of connection with the stage, sure as fate, he will begin at once to recall to us a similar calamity in some play? And a habit of this kind is not without its consequences; it has a distorting and degrading influence on public taste. How often, when we look for evidence of taste, do we find nothing to deserve the name, but instead a complete perversion of taste!

We had a most painful instance of this in the days when Gerhard Hauptmann's Weber was being played. Just think what all those sensitive and impressionable ladies, sitting there in their rustling silks and décolletage —just think what they had to witness as they watched the play through! Things they would certainly never have allowed to come anywhere near them in real life. A dead dog being devoured bit by bit! Had such a sight met their eyes in real life, they would have run from it as they would from a raging lion. But looking at it up there on the stage they enjoyed it, they were thrilled. Yes, it has come to that! Do not misunderstand me. I have no objection to the representation on the stage of a dead dog being devoured—provided the motif is artistically treated. What I deplore is the perversion of taste.

The danger that I want to bring home to you, the danger of becoming at last quite remote from real life and living only in the stage reflection of it, is there above all, as we said, for the actor. The actor is, however, also in a specially favourable position to cope with it. For the very art he is pursuing, once he comes to understand it in the way we have been putting it forward in these lectures, will rescue him from the danger. As soon as he begins to go beyond the exoteric in his work and activity on the stage and to enter into its esoteric aspect, he will be saved from the danger of drifting right away from real life and becoming absorbed in its stage reflection. And the actor will be entering into the esoteric side of his work when he has come to the point where the monologue or dialogue or whatever it may be that he has been practising flows of its own accord in a stream of speech-forming activity. Exercises to this end should be given to the students in a school of dramatic art. Please follow carefully what I am saying. By the time of the dress rehearsal, the actor should be absolutely ready with his part just like a wound-up clock—,the whole stream of well-formed speech running its course without his help; for by then his part should have become an independent being within him Better still, of course, if this is attained a good while before the dress rehearsal.

And now, having succeeded in coming so far, the actor has a possibility that will certainly not be his if in the moment of performance he is obliged still to be giving his attention to the content of his part, in the way one does when reading or listening, where it is the immediate prose content of the words that is vividly present to consciousness. Assuming, however, that the actor has by this time mastered the content, and moreover progressed so far with the forming of the speech that this flows on of itself, a new possibility opens before him. Having set himself free from the forming of the speech, he will be able—and here comes the important point—to devote himself to listening, undisturbed by any conscious forming of it, to the speaking he has created and which is now in full flow, he will be able to surrender himself to its influence, allowing it here and there to fill him with glowing enthusiasm or, at another time, to cause him pain. This is not of course possible until the speaking has, by long practice, been brought into flow in the way I explained; for only then can the actor regain his freedom and, without being disturbed in his soul by the process of creation, participate in the experience of what he has himself created— in the same way as he would in some experience that came to meet him from a fellow human being.

I want you to appreciate the importance of this achievement. The actor should be able to keep himself in reserve, to hold back and not allow himself to be caught in his own creation; and then, having once fully objectified his own creation, be able to experience it from without with all the elemental force of his emotions, letting it arouse in him joy and admiration, or again sorrow and distress.

At this point a certain feeling will begin to dawn in the actor, a feeling that is in reality a part of his own esoteric life and that will prove to be actually stronger with him than with persons who are not actors. The play, he will feel, together with my own part in it, begins now to interest me as something quite outside myself, so soon, that is, as I step on to the stage. For I must first be on the stage. I need the footlights. (That is putting it a little crudely; there might of course be no footlights! You will understand what I mean.) I need the footlights, he will feel, if I am to live in the play; the play then becomes for me something outside myself. And it is this fact of its becoming separate from himself that is such a wonderful experience for the actor. For now he, as it were, retrieves it, participating in it even while he is projecting it; and this new experience has the effect of sending him forth to explore with zest and eagerness the real life in the world outside. For such an actor, there will be no uncertainty about the boundary between real life and the stage.

In our day, unfortunately, the recognition of this boundary is little more than an ideal. I have known plenty of actors who ‘acted’ in real life, and on the stage could only just pass muster. My experience has indeed gone even farther than this. I once witnessed an incident in Berlin that throws a very interesting light on the whole question. We made the acquaintance of a medium who had a most remarkable effect upon people. They were dumbfounded by what he was able to do. He would sit on the sofa and proceed to say, not at all what he himself but what other people had to say. It was quite astonishing. Perhaps it would be Julius Caesar who put in an appearance; the medium would sit there and talk exactly as Julius Caesar might. He could, in fact, be possessed by Julius Caesar or by some other character. I do not now recall any of the others, but this was the kind of susceptibility that showed itself in the medium. People were charmed and bewildered at the same time. Now this medium was by profession an actor, and with him on the stage was a fellow actor who had long been a friend of mine. One day, when I had been present at one of these exhibitions of mediumship, I asked the medium: ‘Does my friend also know you well?’ ‘Oh yes,’ replied the medium, ‘and when he sees me like this, he always exclaims: “What a splendid actor!” I can, however, only reply: “But I am your colleague, and you know quite well that I'm no good at all on the stage.”’ For the medium would never have been able to personify Julius Caesar on the stage. But when he was in mediumistic condition, the people around him believed, and to a certain extent rightly believed, that the real Julius Caesar was speaking in him; and he did it so well that my friend (who afterwards became a Managing Director of some theatre), when he saw him in this condition, took him for an actor of outstanding ability. And little wonder; for it was all there complete, even to the facial expression. But on the stage he was just like a block of wood, standing there without moving a muscle of his countenance.

Here, you see, we are faced with an extreme instance of what the art of acting must never be. For it must never happen that an actor is passive and possessed by his part. And this man was of course simply possessed. I have explained the relationship that an actor should have to his part. It must be objective for him. He must feel it as something that he has himself created and formed; and yet all the time he himself must be there in his own form, standing beside the form he has created. And then this creation of his can thrill him with joy or plunge him into sadness, just as truly as can events and doings in the world outside.

You will learn to find your way to this experience if you study your part in the way I have described. And it is necessary that you should do so. It will bring you to the esoteric in your own being.

Yesterday we were speaking of two things that come into consideration for the stage under present conditions—décor and lighting. I have no desire to dismiss outright the idea of an open-air theatre; but, as I said then, if we want to speak about dramatic art in a practical manner, we can only do so with a view to the stage that is in general use. And so what I had to say about stage décor and lighting had reference entirely to the modern stage. I would like, however, at this point to consider for a moment the theatre more in general. Starting from the experience of the present day, let us now see what it would mean if we had a stage like the stage of Shakespeare's time.

When we see one of Shakespeare's plays performed today, it can give us very little idea of how the play looked on a stage of his own time. There was, to begin with, a fair-sized enclosure not unlike an alehouse yard, and here sat the London populace of those times. Then there was what served for stage, and on the left and right sides of it were placed chairs where sat the more aristocratic folk and also various persons connected with the theatre. These people the actor would thus have in close proximity He would moreover also feel himself only half on the stage and half among the common people down below—and how delighted he would be when he could direct an ‘aside’ to these! The Prologue too, an indispensable figure in the play, addressed his part primarily to the public below. It was indeed quite taken for granted that every effort would be made to attract and please the public. They joined in and made their own contribution to the performance—tittering or howling, yelling or cheering, even on occasion pelting with rotten apples. Such things were accepted as a regular part of the show. And this good-humoured understanding between stage and audience, that had something of a spark of genius about it, infected even the more pedantic and heavy-going among the spectators—for there were such in those days too; they felt themselves caught up into the atmosphere. Shakespeare; himself an actor, understood very well how to take his audience with him. You have only to listen to the cadence of his sentences to be convinced of this. Shakespeare spoke, in fact, straight out of the heart of his audience. It is untrue today to say that people ‘listen’ to a play of Shakespeare's; for we no longer listen in the way people listened when Shakespeare was there on the stage with his company.

I have spoken already of how all work in connection with the theatre can be regarded in an esoteric light, and I want now to carry the matter a little further by describing to you something else the actor needs to develop.

Yesterday I was telling you of an experience that you would perhaps not easily believe could have any connection with the development of an actor—the experience, namely, of the rainbow. But, my dear friends, experiences like that of the rainbow are by their very nature closely connected with the deeper processes of life's happenings. Has it ever occurred to you how little we know of all that goes on in a human being when, simply from eating of a particular dish, he gets bright red cheeks? All kinds of things have been happening inside him that lie entirely beyond the range of direct observation. Similarly you must realise that you cannot expect to reason out logically the effect that the experience of the rainbow has on the actor. But you will soon see how differently that actor will use his body on the stage. Not that his movements will show particular skill, but they will show art. To move artistically has to be learned on an inward path. And the description I gave you yesterday was of one such path. There are many more; and particularly important for the actor is one that I will now describe.

An actor should develop a delicate feeling for the experience of the world of dreams. We could even set it down as an axiom that the better an actor trains himself to live in his dreams, so that he can recall their pictures and consciously conjure up before him again and again all his dream experiences—the better he is able to do this, the better will be his carriage and bearing on the stage. He will not merely be one who carries himself well externally; throughout his part his whole bearing will have art, will have style.

This is where the deeper realm of the esoteric begins for the actor—when he is able to enter with full understanding into the world of dreams. He has then to come to the point where he discerns a difference of which everyone knows and has experience, but which is not generally experienced with sufficient intensity. I mean the following.

Think of how it is with us when we are developing our thoughts and feelings in the full tide and bustle of everyday life. Let us imagine, for instance, we are at a tea-party. A master of ceremonies is darting about, continually making those little jokes of his of which he is so vain, a dancer is exerting all her charm, a stiff-looking professor who has with difficulty been induced to come feels himself in duty bound to express well-feigned admiration of everything, in not quite audible murmurs. One could continue on and on describing some scene of this kind out of everyday life. But now consider the vast difference there is between an experience of this nature—which may be said to approach the extreme in one direction—and the experience you have when, in complete solitude, you let your dreams unfold before you. It is important to discern this difference, to see it for what it is, and then to develop a feeling for what it means to pass from the one experience to the other, to pass, that is, from a condition where you are chafed and exhausted in soul by the racket of the life around you, and go right through to the very opposite experience where you are entirely alone and given up to your dreams. These, one might imagine, could be only feebly experienced; nevertheless, you know as you watch them go past that you are deeply and intimately connected with them. To grow familiar with this path of the soul that takes you from the first experience to the second, to undertake esoteric training that will help you to follow it again and again with growing power of concentration—that, my dear friends, will prepare you to take hold of your work as actors with understanding and with life.

For, in order to make your part live, you have first of all to approach it as you approach real life when it meets you with all its chaotic and disquieting details, and then go on to study the part intently, making it more and more your own, until you come at last Jo feel with it the same sort of intimate bond that you hale with some dream of yours in the moment of recalling it. I am, I know, holding up before you an ideal; but ideals can start you out on the right road.

This kind of preparation has to go forward at the same time as you are bringing the speaking of the part to its full development, that is, to where the speaking flows on of itself in the way I have described. The two paths have to be followed side by side. You have, on the one hand, to come to the point where you are able to dream your part, where the single passages in it begin to merge and lose their distinctness, and you come to feel your part as a unity, as one great whole—not, however, suffering it to lose in the process any of its variety of colouring. The single passages you then no longer perceive as single passages, their individual content disappears; and in that moment you are able to place before your mind's eye a dreamlike impression of the whole of your part right through the play. That is the one path. The other is that you should be able to tear yourself right out of this experience and produce with ease and freedom your formed speaking of the part, producing it and reproducing it again and again. If these two paths of preparation run parallel with one another, then your part will come to life, then it will acquire being.

And I think the actor and the musician or singer can here find themselves in agreement about- the way each understands his art. The pianist, for example, has also to come to the point when, to put it rather radically, he can play his piece in his sleep—when, that is, his hands move right through the piece involuntarily, moving as it were of themselves. And he too must on the other hand be able to be thrilled with delight or plunged into sadness by what his own art has brought into being.

Here again a danger confronts the artist, whether actor or musician. The emotional experience that he owes to his own creation must not develop in the direction of ‘swelled head’. It must not be because of his own ability that the artist is thrilled with delight. (The opposite mood does not so often show itself!) He must on the contrary have his consciousness centred all the time upon the thing he has created and objectified.

If you have prepared your part in this way, working out of a fine sensitiveness for the world of dreams, and if along with this you have succeeded in mastering the art of objectifying your speaking, then you will bring to the stage the very best that the individual actor can bring. And a further thing follows from this too.

When you have come so far as to be able to behold the play there before you in its entirety— the separate scenes and details, each with its own colouring, existing for you only as parts of the whole which lies spread out before you like a tableau—then the exactly right moment has come when you can set about ‘forming’ the stage. For now you will be ready to give it the décor that properly belongs to it, working on the lines I explained yesterday. If you were to build up your picture of the stage like a mosaic, piecing it together out of the feelings you have of the several scenes, it would have no art or order. But if you have pressed forward first of all to achieve this living experience of the play as a whole, so that when you come to ask: What is it like in the beginning? What impression does it make upon me in the middle?, you never, in considering any section of it, lose sight of the whole—then your configuration of the stage will be harmonious throughout, will be a unity.

And only then, my dear friends, only then will you be capable of judging how far you can go with the indoor stage of today, complete with its inevitable footlights and the rest, where nevertheless you will, of course, have somehow to produce when necessary the illusion of daylight; or how far you can go in adapting your external décor in a simple, primitive way to what is spoken by the characters; or again, let us say, how far you can go in staging a play in the open air.

Whatever kind of play you have in hand, it will demand its own particular style, which can be neither intellectually discovered nor intellectually described, but has to be inwardly felt. As we press forward, working in the way I have explained, to a deeper understanding of dramatic art, we shall find for each play the relevant style, we shall perceive it. If we are dealing with the stage conditions that are customary at the present day, we shall want to take our guidance as far as ever possible from the perception we have arrived at of the tableau of the play as a whole. The modern stage with its lighting and its elaborate décor demands that we shall follow the path of preparation that takes us to that dreamlike survey of which I have spoken, where the whole play lies spread out before us like a tableau. For it is a fact that for representations in artificial light, the more the total picture of the play conveys to the actor the impression of half-dreamed fantasy, the better. If you who are acting have let the picture of the stage be born out of dreams, out of dreams that have been cast in the mould of fantasy, then the audience, having this picture before them, will receive the impression of something that is alive and real.

The case will of course be different if your audience is looking, let us say—to go to the opposite extreme—at a background of Nature. For an open-air performance, all you can do in the way of ‘forming’ your stage is to select the spot that seems the most favourable for the piece. You will of course be limited by your possibilities. You have to put your theatre somewhere; you have really no free choice, but must be content with what there is. Let us suppose, however, that you have decided upon a spot and are preparing for an open-air performance.

You have succeeded, we will assume, in having the play before your mind's eye as a complete, continuous tableau. Then, holding fast this perception of the play as a whole, you let Nature appear in the background. (You will need to be quite active inwardly, so as to be able to see both at the same moment.) There behind, you have the real landscape. You cannot alter it, you have to take it as it is. And here in front, of course, are the seats for the audience, which always look so frightful in Nature's world. 1Dr. Steiner made here a coloured drawing on the blackboard. And now, with all this before you, you must be able to superimpose your own picture of the play, the picture that has emerged out of dream, on to the picture that Nature is displaying in the background, letting it veil Nature's picture as though with a cloud.

The work of forming anything artistically has to be done by the soul. Need we wonder then that, in order to prepare ourselves for it, we have to go back to soul experience? In front, therefore, of the landscape that Nature provides, you will have the experience that has come to you from the play. And then—yes, then you will find, as you hold all this before you and think it through with all the energy you can command, that those rocks, those distant snow-capped mountains, fir-clad slopes, and green meadows—all that whole background of Nature begins to make itself felt, begins to give you inspiration for your masking of the individual figures on the stage—whether you produce the effect by means of make-up, or give them real masks, as did the Greeks, who felt these to be a natural necessity on the stage. And you will find that out in the open, Nature will require you to give far more decided colouring to your speech than is necessary in the intimacy of an indoor theatre. The several actors will also have to be much more sharply distinguished one from another than in an artificially lighted theatre, both in the colouring you give them to accord with their character, and in the colouring that is determined by the situation.

I would strongly recommend students of dramatic art to practise going through such experiences again and again. Their importance is not limited to the help they can give for particular performances, they are important for every actor's development. You cannot be a good actor until you have learned such things from your own experience, until you have felt how the voices of the parts have to be pitched in the one case, and how differently they must be pitched in the other case, where the play is being acted in Nature's own theatre.

In the times in which we are living, the actor has to undergo training if he is to acquire such experiences ; he has to learn them consciously. To Shakespeare they were instinctive. All that I have been describing to you, Shakespeare and his fellow-actors knew instinctively. They had imagination, you see, they had a picture-making fantasy; you can see it from the very way Shakespeare forms his speeches. Yes, they had a picture-making fantasy. And Shakespeare could do two things He had on the one hand a marvellous perception for what the audience is experiencing while an actor is speaking on the stage; you can detect this just in those passages in his plays that are most characteristic of his genius. He could sense. with wonderful accuracy the effect some speech was having upon the spectators sitting on the left of the stage, the effect it was having upon those sitting on the right, and again upon the main audience down in front. A fine, imponderable sensitiveness enabled him to share in the experience of each. And then, on the other hand, Shakespeare had the same delicate, sensitive feeling for all that might go on upon a stage which was, after all, no more than a slightly transformed alehouse! For Shakespeare knew very well, from experience, the kind of things that go on in an alehouse, he had a perfect understanding of that side of life. Shakespeare was by no means altogether the ‘utterly lonely’ figure that some learned old fogeys like to picture him. He knew how to bring on his actors—or take part himself—in a way that sorted well with the primitive realities of the stage of his time.

If you were to act today on the modern stage, with all its refinements of décor, lighting and so forth—if you were to act there today as men acted in Shakespeare's time, then a young schoolgirl who had been brought to the theatre for the first time (the rest of the audience would naturally have grown accustomed to it) would exclaim as soon as the play began: But why ever do they shout so? Yes, if we were to listen without bias to a play acted in true Shakespearian manner, we would have the impression that the actors were shouting, that the whole performance was nothing but a confused, discordant shouting. In those days, however, it was quite in place. Under primitive stage conditions it is not shouting, it is fully developed dramatic art.

In proportion, however, as we go in for more and more décor and lighting effects, it becomes a necessity to subdue, to soften down, not only the speaking voice, but even also the inner intensity of the acting. In such a changed environment it is not possible to act with the same intensity. You should be able to appreciate that this must be so. The ability of an actor, the range of his capacity as an artist, will depend on how far he can feel for himself inner connections of this kind. That way too lies the path that will verily take him into the esoteric side of his calling; for to find this path, he needs to be able to live in such truths, to be able continually to awaken them in his heart, again and again.

If the actor achieves this, if he learns to live in these truths, then gradually it will come about that they form themselves for him into meditations. He can of course have other meditations as well, but the content of his meditation as actor he must find on this path. And then he will begin also to take an increasingly wide interest in all that goes on in real life, outside the stage. For that is a mark of a really good actor. He will retain, throughout his career as actor, the most far-reaching interest in all the little things of life. An actor who is unable to be delighted, for example, with the drollery of a hedgehog, an actor who does not enjoy and admire it in a more delicate way than others do, will never be a first-rate actor. If he is the sort of man who could never exclaim: ‘But how that young lawyer did laugh when he heard that joke! Never in all my life shall I forget it!’—if he is a man who is incapable of throwing out such an exclamation with genuine and hearty enjoyment, then he is incapable also of being a really good actor. And an actor who, having taken off his make-up and left the theatre, is not assailed by all manner of strange dreams, amounting often to nightmare—he too cannot be a first-rate actor. While the actor is on his way home from the theatre, or, as is perhaps more likely, on his way to some restaurant to get a meal, it should really be so that out of all the dream-cloud of the performance, some detail suddenly thrusts itself before his mind's eye. ‘Oh, that woman in the side box,’ he says to himself, ‘how she did annoy me again, holding up her lorgnette to gaze at me just when I had to speak that passage! ... And how it put me out too when at the most critical moment of the play some silly girl right up at the top of the gallery began to giggle—I suppose her neighbour was pinching her!’

While the play is on, the actor knows nothing at all of these little incidents, he is quite unconscious of them. But you know what happens sometimes in ordinary life. You come home and sit down quietly with a book. All of a sudden, a big headline appears right across the page you are reading: ‘Dealer in Spirits. Remigius Neuteufel.’ The words place themselves clearly before you. (I dare say most of you can recall some such experience, though perhaps not quite so pronounced.) All the time you were out, you never saw those words. Suddenly they superimpose themselves on the page that lies open before you, and you read : ‘Dealer in Spirits. Remigius Neuteufel.’ Afterwards it dawns upon you that the words were on a shop sign that you passed on the way home. Without entering your consciousness, they went straight down into your sub-conscious. And had you been a medium and had Schrenk-Nötzing made experiments on you, then you would have produced the effluvia from the appropriate glands (for such things do happen!) and in the effluvia would stand the words: ‘Dealer in Spirits. Remigius Neuteufel.’ That is what would have happened to a medium. In the case of a normal person, the words simply make their appearance in front of the book he is reading, like a somewhat dim hallucination. They are there, you see, in the sub-conscious.

In ordinary life there is no occasion to pay particular attention to an incident of this kind—unless of course one is in the medical profession, when it may be one's duty to investigate such matters with all care and exactness. Art, however, obeys quite other laws in the matter of the human soul. From the point of view of art, an actor can never be an actor of real ability, if the sort of thing I have mentioned does not happen to him now and then on his way home from the theatre, if he does not, for instance, suddenly feel: ‘Heavens, how that old woman up there turned her miserable lorgnette on me!’ He did not notice her during the play, but now as he makes his way home, there she is in front of him, with her grey eyes and frowning eyebrows and untidy hair, her stiff fingers grasping the handle of her lorgnette—it weighs on him like an incubus!

That, however, will only be a proof that the actor lives in all that takes place around him, lives in it objectively. Although he is acting, he stands at the same time fully in life, he participates even in what he does not observe, in what he must not observe at the time—not merely need not, but must not. While, however, he is absorbed in the creation of his part, while his whole consciousness is directed to what he has to say and do, his sub-conscious has on that very account all the better opportunity for making keen and detailed observation of everything that is going on around him. And if he has achieved what I described as an esoteric secret for the stage-actor, namely, that when he leaves the stage he is in very deed and truth away from it, away from everything to do with it, and enters right into real life—if the actor has achieved this secret, then on his leaving the theatre this subconscious in him will begin to make itself felt, and all the various grotesque and distorted pictures that can remain with him from the performance will suddenly display themselves, so that now at last, after the event, he experiences them consciously. Naturally, it may often also be very lovely impressions that come back to him in this way.

I had opportunity once to witness an amazing instance of this kind of memory-experience. The actor Kainz 2Josef Kainz (1858–1910) was well known all over Germany and Austria, and toured also in the U.S.A. Romeo and Hamlet were among his leading parts. had just come from a performance, laden as it were with these nightmares, and found himself in a company of friends, including a Russian authoress with whom he particularly liked to share such impressions. It was wonderful to hear these coming out. Kainz was not in the least embarrassed about the matter, or one would naturally not want to talk of it. There they were, all the things he had experienced sub-consciously during the performance—there they were, living on in him in this way, the experience perhaps enhanced in his case by the contempt he felt for the audience. For Kainz was one of those actors who have the utmost contempt for their audiences.

It is things of this nature that can help you to a true understanding of dramatic art. They make no particular appeal to the intellect; but it is by the path of imagination and of picture that we have to travel, following forms that are of fantasy's creation, if we would come at last to the essential being of dramatic art. For this reason dramatic art cannot tolerate in its school the presence of teachers who have not a sensitive artistic feeling. (As a matter of fact, this is true of every art.) And I have always regarded it as a most undesirable addition to the faculty of a school of dramatic art when, for example, a professor of literature is brought in to give lessons to the students. All that goes on in such a school, everything that is done there, must be genuinely artistic through and through. And no one can speak artistically about any art unless he can live in that art with his whole being!

To-morrow, then, we will continue, and I shall have to tell you of another esoteric secret connected with the art of the stage.