|Caravaggio - The Taking of Christ, or Kiss of Judas (1602)|
Jealousy, vengeance, rage. How would I feel IF I was told that my wife has been betraying me? Shock, first. Confusion. Disbelief. I would need to find evidence. Then I find it. This is when I would lose balance, even physically. Cardiac dysrhythmia would ensue. Knowing myself, i.e. aware of the way I usually react to a situation of emotional confusion, something would probably happen to my stomach. Doubt, after a while, vanishes and a mere suspicion becomes tragic and painful reality (I cannot help recalling here a quotation by philosopher Jean Guitton, whose words seem to strike a
delicate point through a self-evident truth: "He that loves a person too intensely, sorrounding her with limitless admiration, if he then grows suspicions over her, he will quickly pass from love to hate, from admiration to contempt"). Wrath. Disillusionment, sorrow, jealousy; all of these feelings slip into a new and inevitable phase: a blind, uncontrolled, and uncontrollable crave for vendetta.
Theoretically I have it. I more or less have an idea how I should feel. Now, all I need is to feel.
I just have to dig into myself because, in a form or another, it is there. Ask yourself, "Have you ever been betrayed", not necessarily by your wife? Betrayed by a friend will do, too. Never? Plan B: "Have you ever felt betrayed, have you ever considered yourself betrayed?" It does not matter whether it happened or not (After all, Othello was never betrayed by Desdemona). Have you ever, in the past, felt that way? Either for a serious or less serious reason, we have all felt betrayed at least once in our life. I just have to go back to the moment it happened. I have to rummage into my memory of the events and, most importantly, my emotional memory; as Stanislavski put it, I have to recreate the context that produced that feeling.
Granted, such a process is not devoid of dangers when it involves what has been a rough patch in one's past life. Fortunately, time heals wounds, at least a bit. But that is not enough. The risks are still enormous. A man's psyche is a most fragile apparatus. Reliving certain experiences without the proper psychic preparation might bring about strong and unexpected effects. It is not uncommon for many notable and skilled actors to suffer - or have suffered - from depressive disorders. Neuroses and psychoses are right there, waiting for the perfect impulse causing them to break out uncontrolled and implacable. Depression, obsession, mal d'etre, anxiety, how can one play a tragic character and then claim to have no trace of that emotional experience left in himself?
But I digressed.