The follg is an extract from my diary on Nov 4th 1998:
...."I have been learning and trying to practise transcendental meditation- and I read somewhere abt a person’s personal experience of TM- as a feeling of ecstasy, of the self being wiped out- bliss, an exquisite release, dissolution of the self into an unimaginable vastness- a void- infinity.
Now, a similar feeling, I have felt just for a split second during TM, but to a greater extent while performing on stage- in a play or while dancing. The part that I played was not remarkable as such, but that I was doing what I enjoyed was the reason of my ecstasy. I was not exceptionally talented neither in acting nor in dancing, but I loved doing it.
We, as individuals evolve according to experiences, circumstances, conditioning, heredity- we learn to behave in society according to its expectations, rules…sometimes, we might put up a front so that others don’t dissaprove, criticize-
But onstage, when one portrays a character, that is not us, there is no responsibility to conform, then the suppressed energy self sort of explodes – an immense catharsis- a liberation from the confines of the bound self- I cease to be ME. It is so exquisite, this feeling- I love it!
I am aware of my lack in technical finesse, but it does not deplete/dilute my enjoyment.
Now, when I see others performing on stage, and when that artiste too performs totally involved, I simply LOVE it!
But my uncles, who are well informed in the technical aspects of Music, and a few other art forms, they opine that any art form should stand distinct from the artiste- total involvement of the artiste perhaps enhances the beauty of appreciation, but dilutes the aesthetics of the essence of THE ART. They tell me that, the artiste and the character portrayed should at no point merge into one- if it does then the art is polluted/ diluted by the individuality of the artiste! O f course, they do state that this applies only to specific art forms like Kathakali, certain Greek Drama, and some other such Art forms- Cinema, and other such media can afford to let the character and actor mingle-
As an example towards this they cite, that in s particular form of drama, while the play is being enacted onstage, suddenly in between a couple of stage hands walk across the stage holding a placard-“this is only a performance”- kind of thing to break the spell!
Similarly, in kathakali, the continous presence of the singer, percussionists just behind the larger than life characters , and when the artiste turns to the opposite side of the audience, the costume is bare , exposing the upper back of the artiste- and change in scenes is indicated by a couple of stage hands holding a curtain right in between!
For me, my enjoyment is when I am able to identify with the story, the characters portrayed, I love it when the artiste merges into the character portrayed- with his performance- I wish I could understand the way my uncles enjoy an art form, to know their definition of artistic expertise. What according to them are the mandates for an ideal performance, and why is my kind of appreciation described as diluting the essence of the art form?
My doubts are, what is the Dharma of an art form? Of an aritste, of the medium used, who draws the mandates for aesthetic enjoyment? ..."
Well, these used to be my thoughts, of course, now I am not as confused, as I used to be, because, I decided I need not break my head over it, Arts , aesthetics- anything can be enjoyed according to the whims of the individual- it is highly subjective- to each his own- no hard and fast rules abt anything, that’s all…-