Thaís Loureiro is a Rio based actor and teacher. She began studying the Michael Chekhov technique in 2011 and is Co-Founder of Michael Chekhov Brasil with Hugo Moss. She travels regularly to MICHA events in the USA and she is currently on stage with the Brazilian production of Marsha Norman’s ‘night, Mother, in the role of Jessie.
I love Michael Chekhov’s idea that deep down, every artist’s desire to create is actually the desire for Transformation. I can’t think of any better definition for my personal artistic impulses: the desire of transform myself, the space, the audience, the world.
The best thing about being an artist is...
To be able to think, feel and act “from” a possible world while in contact with the real one: to have a kind of divided consciousness 24/7. Having a creative relationship with the world around me is not only a fun thing to do, but I think this is part of the artist’s duty and maybe that’s the best part: the responsibility of taking the world seriously enough to play with it.
How did the "discovery" of Chekhov Technique transform your practice?
There wasn’t any actual practice before that. I was the naïve type that used to think that whether the actor is inspired or he isn’t. And that, of course, can be very frustrating when you fail to be inspired. First, the idea of the actor’s daily training as being the only way of “having the inspiration under our command” came to me as a perfect response both to my naiveté and my frustration. Secondly, I felt very “at home” not only with the dynamic principles/concepts of the technique (energy, imagination, incorporation etc.), but also with the philosophy that supported Chekhov (such as Goethe and Steiner). And the big transformation came when I realized that it is possible to create a movement against all the materialism and dryness that has been weakening our arts, while working with love, kindness and pleasure.
Are there any strategies/rituals you created to help self in times when working feels difficult, when you feel stuck? Would you describe what works for you?
“Be kind to yourself”, Fern (Sloan) says sometimes. When you feel stuck, I would suggest that you live that “stuckness” for a while. There’s no harm in giving yourself a break, because I believe that (if we have a creative outlook) our Higher Ego keeps working and the impulse will come. It’s counter-intuitive, because we are under both external and inner pressures for productivity and feel that we can’t allow ourselves the time to just... actively wait.
The other day I read Chekhov describing our Higher Ego as being like a cat, and all we have to do (by training our body and imagination) is to coax it, and it’ll come and play with us. However if we are too active in an attempt of “grab” it, it won’t want to come. It’s all about finding the right activity.
Describe a productive day at work?
For me, a productive day of practice is the one when I don’t forget what having been successful means to me. When I don’t worry about the result, but am in a completely investigative mood, freeing myself to “fail again and fail better." If by the end of the day I have no clearer response to the subject, but I’ve got better questions, then I feel that the day was productive.
What is important for you to teach your students?
Speaking specifically of Brazil and Rio, it is clear to us how limited the Theatre World is and has been for years. We feel that actors, directors and audiences are very like the inhabitants of Plato’s cavern: no one finds the moving two-dimensional shadows in any way poor or lacking in substance, for that is what they are used to seeing. They believe we have a healthy theatre/acting world and our working environment is of general contentment and narrow horizons. We who feel this discontent and long for change are very much outsiders. Therefore, one way of describing our dream/mission is to create a “Path to Light” (to quote Jobst Langhans’s recent essay) outside the cavern. In one very meaningful sense, we can confidently claim to have been highly successful in this task. Within a few hours of any of our workshops we are able to bring movement into the spirit and awaken the imagination. Students have profound experiences and many recognize immediately and very consciously that here lies the source of why they became actors in the first place. Like a homecoming after a long desert crossing. So, Hugo and I have the clear notion that our work isn’t just sell a bag of tricks, but to awaken in the artists a certain attitude towards the theatre.
In 2016, SUPER SPACE is serving as a vehicle to facilitate Created to Create Project.
CREATED TO CREATE
INTRODUCING ONE ARTIST PER WEEK, FOR 52 WEEKS IN 2016.
Beginning, January, 1st, 2016
ACTORS, ARTISTS, THEATRE MAKERS, FILM MAKERS, DESIGNERS, TEACHING ARTISTS, STUDENTS all chosen because they spend a part each day creating. Artists will be chosen in no particular order.
Introduce artists from different parts of the world. People who use different mediums and whose practice is at a different skill level. A thing they all have in common is unique sense of style and self-expression.