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Our Many Faces, the World as a Stage
Special Feature

Our Many Faces, the World as a Stage

Our Many Faces, the World as a Stage

Ithra competition for short plays. 2022. Courtesy of Ithra.

By Rahma Dhyab
October 20th, 2022
“The Identity" narrates the artists' history to touch their conscience, integrating philosophy with spacious spaces.”

Theatrical director Hassan Al Mubarak

Since identity is a mixture of social intersections and historical memories, theater and art have a remarkable presence in the depth of identity that differs according to the stories and dimensions in which they are embodied, some of which are related to people’s memory, and others to their experiences, so the identity takes them to a time extension that constitutes a unique artistic relationship as an expression of themselves away from the constraints of life. 

Theatrical director Hassan Al Mubarak believes that “identity” needs a special philosophy to define it and understand its meaning. Personal identity is not only an identification card about a person, as it refers to an independent entity that belongs to the individual and determines his identity and relationship to himself. It is also closely related to changes and continuity. 

It is not possible for a person’s identity to remain constant over the years. Name, color and race are fixed elements that remain inherent in the identity of the person, however, this stability may be cracked, so the identity takes several paths, especially for personalities who have artistic, professional or intellectual tendencies. We find many individual identities change even with their apparent features and psychological dimensions. The reason for that is that the identity requires variables that give the personality what brings it revision and renewal to appear in the best picture, and here we find the split between the reality of personal identity and acting in particular.

Ithra competition for short plays. 2022. Courtesy of Ithra.
Relationship of personal identity to acting

Al Mubarak says that the intuitive claim of some actors leads them further than they imagine. Not every personal identity is capable of acting until we imagine that entering the world of acting comes from desire, inclination, or even whim. Some actors takethe bait because there is no real mirror that determines their correct path. The able one is the one who continues to search and strives to complete the ingredients that make him an outstanding actor by all standards, and the test for that is on stage.

He added, “Let us imagine that the theater floor is a soft beast with hidden fangs, and the actor is a skilled warrior, and the space of that ground is dark planets. So, the “warrior” actor must feel confident that that monster will not plant his fangs, unless the actor fails to embody the character he is reincarnating. Ifhe embodies it correctly and appropriately, what the actor has done is reflected on those planets that will illuminate space and shine on the ground and repel the beast and prevent him from planting his fangs in the actor. tThe theater welcomes all personal identities without exception, but it never compliments anyone.”

The relationship of personal identity to acting is not easy to identify and judge by just strutting on the stage, or even standing at first sight, according to Al Mubarak: “We often find characters with an attractive identity, whether through voice, general appearance, or physical expression, and when a fever rises at work it is clear what is chaff and what is grain. Not in the sense that acting or theater is a sifter for personal identities; there are many arts and professions in which some personal identities may excel and others may fail. Still, the profession of acting is not as easy as some imagine. It requires a lot of elaboration, digression and definition in order to communicate a humble message that you may one day be influential by embodying a character you have taken on, so do not hesitate to advance yourself and make your personal identity influential.”

Ithra competition for short plays. 2022. Courtesy of Ithra.
Confusion of identities

Social media has made a huge step in the media. The audience used to the news of the artists they admire through newspapers, magazines and television interviews, or meeting with artists in public places or parties and theaters. But with the current means available, their passion for direct communication with artists is enabled, and they became closer to them than before, and get to know their personal identities much more easily.

The means of communication is not only to influence the audience, but also affects the artist, and the artists being affected through the audience following them is not in compliance or in implementation of orders, and when the audience demands the artist to change his/her appearance, for example, when the relationship between him and his fans becomes entrenched in his personality and becomes a part of his identity. 

Without the audience and its influence, the artist would not have progressed and flourished, even if he was the best artist in the world. What is the point of being a veteran artist without human fuel to keep your torch lit? The issue of influence between the artist and his audience is one of balance, and we may see some artists have an influence on their fans that reach the point of imitation and fascination, which means that social media has a clear impact on identity.

Ithra competition for short plays. 2022. Courtesy of Ithra.
Artistic components

From the point of view of Al Mubarak, there is a difference in what is similar, and a similarity in what is different. Some, perhaps many, think that acting reflects the identity of the actor. The gray area is crowded with a number of actors which is not relatively small, but here is the boundary, as there is an actor with a recurring character wherever he goes and stays, and we do not differentiate between standing on the stage or in front of the camera. All his personal traits are clear in his acting as they are, and he does not have any balance or savings for his artistic components. 

Meanwhile there is an actor who radically differs from his personality when he performs any theatrical performance or otherwise; unexpected elements flow from him such as suspense and surprise, and brilliantly concealing his true personality will get the audience to believe and be certain that he is someone other than the one he knows.

The reflection of the acting profession on the personal identity of the actor may sometimes be transient, meaning the actor may be affected by the reincarnation of a character he performs for a period of time. 

And then there is a type that has existed since the inception of the art of acting and will remain in the future, which is the stereotypical and reclusive actor, “deficient in artistic development”, where he does not think of leaving the characteristics of his original character; he sets boundaries that he cannot cross. 

Acting is a talent and diligence, not just a hobby, an occupation or a profession. It includes elements, components, language, presence, sincerity and giving, and the impact of the actor's personal identity on his performance is present, and does not mean disengagement from it, but there is prior preparation and arrangement, then access and reincarnation, in order to convince the viewer.

The depth of identity and theatrical acting

Theatrical acting has a great impact on the depth of identity. The theater is not like other arts in terms of the state of direct communication between the actor and the spectator, the power of improvisation, and the presence of spontaneity. Actors are divided into multiple categories, some of them liberate themselves to coexist with the required character, and some of them have an automatic impulse and a strong intuition for the artistic sense in a highly intuitive and clever way. The actor who [deserves] the character of an actor, is the one who possesses in his depths what astonishes others of his inner stock and his components, when we are faced with seeing many masks on his face, and multiple personalities wearing his body, not to mention the extent of his psychological impact on the spectator. On the stage, the language of communication and the atmosphere of the magnetic field are present. When the actor attends, he is the first and last person responsible for the audience's attention and for working to attract them towards him, to turn into a passion of public interest and arouse sympathy and emotion.

The identity of the actors

As for the identity of the representatives, Al Mubarak believes that each model is as unique as a fingerprint. The personality of the actors varies from one actor to another. There are actors who have a passion that reaches the point of deviating from the norm, and catching composite and complex characters that require psychological and physical effort. Some actors change their options in choosing roles as they age, and some are looking for roles that contribute to the development of their tools and the refinement of their talent. No matter how much experience the actor has gained, there are roles looming on the horizon, as they see that they have not exhausted everything they have truly, the identity of the actor is unlike any other identity!!

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