If you have two pieces of wood that have come loose, you’d say there’s a little play between them, or that there is play in them. You might add that there is light between them, that they are letting daylight through.
No, if a character truly existsand afterward, you can probably say that he doesit is only because he is played. Or rather, it is only because the ink coursing through his veins is played (and played with). It is only because an actor brings light into the dark of the inkwell from which the text sprang.
Whatever a text can sayand not what it can “mean,” but what it can say, in other words, all that we can say through it, and thanks to it, including its most improbable or least-accepted interpretationsthe actor’s task is to say it. To play it.
This task is a responsibility, but an enjoyable one, not an arduous one. In the language of the actor, work and play are synonyms.
An actor is nothing more than that: a bearer of light, a Lucifer of the written text. Because when an actor is playing a role, he does not “step into the character’s shoes,” as the expression goes; he does not “get into the skin of the character.” For that to happen, the character would have to exist already, be a real person . . . but just not in the flesh! And to whom the actor mightthrough some abominable process (the idea of which fills me with horror), through some sickening commotion of crushed cartilage and bone, some horrendous bubbling of opened veins and arteries, and suction whistling of hundreds of slashed nerves seeking desperately, like crazy living vermicelli, to reconnect to the unconnectablelend his own!