When I started doing theatre I had a fantasy that it would allow me to participate in complex, multilayered and didactic artwork. I also had a fantasy that it would allow me to get all emotionally exhibitionistic, untrammeled and unashamed.
It turned out, though, that a certain amount of rigor was required. Not only learning lines and blocking, but comprehending and intelligently communicating the playwright and director's overlapping visions. So on some productions that allowed for a blending of my two theatrical fantasies (Angels in America, various Shakespearian items) I was so busy trying to jerry-rig together enough thesping craft for the job that I wasn't able to find ways of infusing the performance with both Brechtian sophistication and Artaudian shamanistic wallowing.
Until now. Marat/Sade, in which I play a mental patient, allows me to let my actual emotional state to shape my performance while giving energy to a complex exploration of revolutionary failures. Plus I get to scare people like I'm Leatherface. Utter self-indulgence yoked to a compellingly multilayered intellectual work.
Brian Eno has stated that he prefers making frames to making pictures, metaphorically speaking, and I find that my ensemble role allows me to be part of a frame. It's a bit like those faux-frame boundaries on old Mad magazine covers, though... the ones with odd little figures running around and pratfalling. Dozens of little bonus gags surrounding the main gag in the picture.