Gurdjieff International Review

Playing a Role in Life

Peter Brook

In the heart of Gurdjieff’s teachings is one word ‘identification.’ Identification is something very painful for us to recognize. Identification means that at this moment, sitting here, talking to you, I am totally convinced that the person speaking is my real self. This is not true. I am ‘glued.’ Glued to the part I am playing at this moment. I believe totally in the words that I am saying because I am glued to them. For me, they are my words. I believe that this person sitting here is an absolute reality. I am totally identified with this image of ‘me.’

Let’s compare this with the situation of an actor. An actor plays a part. If he or she is really good, all of us watching believe that every fiber of that imaginary person that we are watching is ‘the character.’ Actors, in an extraordinary mysterious way adapt their natural body to the body of the character they are playing. With a bad actor, we see what he or she is trying to show, we see their exaggerations, their clumsiness. The character cannot emerge convincingly because the actor is not free…

[The complete text is available in the printed copy of this issue.]

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Talk given at the Grotowski Centre Wroclaw, Poland 2004, and reproduced here with the author’s kind permission.

Copyright © 2007 Gurdjieff Electronic Publishing
Featured: Spring 2007 Issue, Vol. X (1)
Revision: April 1, 2007