The last time I was creative? Now I’m no Shakespeare, Da Vinci, Mozart, or even Joe Bloggs
the tambourine playing busker, but for the reasons I am about to give, I believe I have been
creative 100% of my waking (and probably sleeping) life.
Stanislavski was a clever guy. He narrowed down the processes we all go through when going about our every day lives. Whether meeting a business colleague, working out which colour to paint the bathroom wall, arguing with the wife or sitting alone on a park bench wandering how to pass the time, he put down on paper a simple but realistic structure of what goes on in the human mind to lead up to the things we do. His aim in constructing his list was to find out what we do in real life so that the theatre actor could go through the same processes in order to create a lifelike character, but for me it is true every art form. His list had 11 separate points, but the first few are perhaps the easiest to grasp: Relationship, Objective, Obstacle, Plan, Tactics, Text (or outside of the theatre, the words we say or the things we do).
For example: my mother phones at 9am to ask whether I have sorted out my medical
insurance yet, which of course, I haven’t. The phone rings – in picking up the phone I go
through the whole list of processes.
I wonder who is calling – it could be my mother, the bank manager or my girlfriend –
I have established my RELATIONSHIP (or lack of one) to the situation in hand
So, in knowing the possible relationships coming up – my OBJECTIVE is created in
trying to be three different people with my first words – either alive and awake for my
mother (to make her feel that I am up nice and early), a non German-speaking stranger
staying at my flat for my bank manager – who I know is phoning me up because I
have no money left, but I don’t want to talk to him right now, or the poor tired victim
for my girlfriend, so that she offers to come around and make me a nice full English
OBSTACLE – the three different ‘characters’ have completely different voices.
PLAN – to find out who it is before saying hello
TACTICS – I will try to get them to speak first
TEXT/ACTION – on picking up the phone, I rub the handset a few times to give the
impression I may have said something but it got muffled and therefore could not be
heard. I wait for their reaction and I know who it is before further reacting.
In painting a picture of your girlfriend, you might go through a similar process of knowing
your relationship and your status within it, finding an objective (make her think you see her
as beautiful while making a truthful picture that she believes in), an obstacle (the spots, the
facial hair and the spare tyres), the plan (do it like Picasso), the tactics (make sure there is
some romantic reason that her face is pointy and is glared our by the sun). The text/action (i.e. the paint on the paper) is (as always) simply a reaction to all the processes before, and not an instigated action in itself..
Good old Stanislavski then went on to describe what happens when the tactic doesn’t work
blah blah blah, but the point I want to make here, is that our everyday lives are one great
improvisation game. We constantly go through a process of seeing a situation and reacting to it. This can be transferred into an abstract art-form such as music, theatre, dance, fine art (or other arts that are less fine), but to ask myself the last time I was creative would have to be, now.
Irrelevant of the quality of my writing or the length of my words (I never said the results
of being creative were always good), the most wonderful thing about creativity is that it is
always there, it is alive. For me, the constructed vision of a creative person is destructive to
those who have not already found themselves in an conventional branch of ‘the Arts’, i.e. to those who are brilliantly creative every day, but, for example, in a non-accepted sense of keeping an office in order or keeping a bus full of school children from running riot, or fixing a car to which the parts aren’t made any more. Creativity is surely as much the cotton and definition of the human soul, as any biblical preaching.