Most people consider the task of ‘acting’ or ‘performing’ to be to create a sense of realism – to act as a real person and establish the illusion that ‘this is happening right now for the first time’. Stanislavski, and many others like him. This is the traditional view of what it means to be an actor or performer.
Director/ writer/ theatre artist Robert Wilson (along with several other contemporary theatre artists) look to break the theatre away from this sense of the ‘real’ and, in their work, seek to establish a heightened sense of theatricality that, they believe, open the doorway to a more poetic sense of meaning. Highly visual, highly stylized.
But to perform in a work of this genre, an actor cannot apply the kinds of methods that serve the more ‘realistic’ performance of a traditional play. The New York Times interviewed an actor, Helga Davis, who is currently performing in the revival of Wilson and Philip Glass’ operatic work Einstein on the Beach at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Here is the article.