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The importance of playing earnest

Dernière mise à jour : 19 avr. 2018

“Nadie te quita lo bailado” is a popular argentine expression. It grants us the benefit of the doubt, and turns our life experience towards the best of our selves: that of enjoying every moment of it. There is no easy way in translating it to english, although it would be something in the vicinity of “it was well worth it”, to “nobody can take away what you’ve danced”.

When one is young, the nature of playing is imbued with a magical sense of eternity. All of our senses are alive and have not yet been dumbed by the stratospheric collusion of whatever we have structured out of our human experience towards what we call “civilization”. There is freedom at play. Everything that surrounds us has the quality to propagate whatever it is we’re at game with into growth.

Having worked for two weeks on generating a creative pool of ideas and energy with Tu Joues? dancers, and as we now prepare for the second round of creation and structuring of the performance, I have been subsequently confronted with the same question: what is it to play?

As an actor, to play a part is really living the moment of a character in certain circumstances. It is playful, because there is a sort of mask between the fictional character, and the actor performing it. This allows for a sort of detachment that becomes creative.

Taking heed on this precise dynamic, there is something of a detachment from one’s self when at play. As if all that we hold true becomes magnified by the process of putting ourselves beyond ourselves.

True, it isn’t easy to play in life when everything arounds us suggests the contrary. It is too easy to become another box on the shelf to make for “a beggarly account of empty boxes”1. And this brings me to a personal issue : what comes first and always is the “need”.

As in childhood, playing is a necessary and daily routine: it is the way we learn, the way we experience life, the way we find our limits. A healthy upbringing is one with plenty of moments of playful expression. Who we are is engrained into this, jumping on stones and painting walls. Everything follows an inherent need to be in the moment: and being in the moment is playing with the moment.

Lest we forget this need to play we fall into a solidified and structured society. The spaces for the new become mitigated by the old. Things work by automation. The narrative of life remains the same, and ultimately we deprive our human experience from the extraordinary. Our soul dampens : our eyes narrow the horizon. The posibilites in life account for small dots and numbers. Nothing can ever change or be transformed if it is not fiercely inflamed by a playful spirit.

This is what is at play, ultimately : life. Our own life. How we play, not only as child, but through our entire life span is at the center of our discussion. As life evolves, playing changes, it moulds circumstances and is moulded by them in return; it becomes less energetic, perhaps more intelectual, fixed upon certain elements, but we play. And as Rocco suggests: “Life is a Game”. Rediscover the feeling of playing within your chest, it is there: like breath.

Felix B.Q.

1Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare, Act V, scene 1

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