Faith in the supernatural is a viable subject matter for realistic theatre. Realistic theatre’s goal is to bring real life to the stage, so why should the subject of the supernatural be withheld from a real life representation? People throughout the world of all different religions believe that a supernatural power is existent in the natural world. The supernatural world may not be tangible, but it is still a valuable subject in reality and on the stage. Faith in the supernatural is an everyday topic to many humans. Why would a true representation of life withhold that subject? Faith in the supernatural presence of God is a practical subject in realistic theatre because it is a common part of true, everyday life, it connects with the “inner truth” teachings of Stanislavsky, and because it is represented through characters of Anton Chekhov, a prominent realism writer.
Realism uses sensitive issues like hypocrisy or failing marriages to show audiences true life. It sought to make morality and immortality indistinguishable, and dramatize touchy subjects like religion and beliefs (Wilson & Goldfarb 416). Realism is an invitation for the topic of the spiritual world because these subjects could not be addressed without bringing issues of faith and the supernatural God onto the stage. Even when scrutinizing the subject, it is still creating a place for it in realistic theatre.
The teachings of Stanislavski, a pioneer of the realism movement in theatre, in a sense, promote faith and the supernatural. The book The Living Theatre, by Edwin Wilson and Alvin Goldfarb is a history textbook that investigates many important movements in theatre such as realism. When discussing Stanislavski’s goals for actors it states that an actor should, “convey the goals and objectives –the inner needs-of a character. Even if all the visible manifestations of a character are mastered, a performance will appear superficial and mechanical without a deep sense of conviction and belief” (Wilson & Goldfarb 416). These inner truths and objectives ask actors to dig for the intangible. In a sense, Stanislavski is asking for actors to reach for a characters spirit. The convictions and beliefs of a character are seemingly a gateway to the characters faith in the presence of a supernatural God. Christians believe that Jesus Christ resides within them as their spiritual conviction and guide. They call this inner conscience the Holy Spirit. In the Bible Jesus even refers to himself as “The way the truth and the life” (NLT). This inner truth could be considered a supernatural necessity for a good actor. Perhaps Stanislavski did not intend for “inner truth” to have this context, but it is a feasible interpretation.
Palm Beach Atlantic University is home to many young men and women who desire to create and produce realistic theatre and who live a life of commitment to Jesus Christ. As Christians, the students believe that the love of Jesus lives in and through...