Wednesday, June 28, 2006

"The Right Choice"

An actor asks me: How do I know if I have made the "right (performance) choice" in a scene? For that matter: what is the "right choice" in a particular scene? Example: suppose the director an I disagree about a 'choice'? Is one of us wrong? Or is there more than one "right choice"? Perhaps there is no "right choice"? In the case of disagreements, is there an arbiter?

My rule: if an acting "choice"--which is how to perform a paqrticular moment or a whole sries of moments in a scene--is consistent to life, or 'real', (logical to human experience), it is automatically right! The question then becomes: what makes it a "right-er" choice, a better choice--not to mention a best choice?

Let's back up a minute, go back to basics: If the purpose of acting is to move an audience to the fullest, deepest experience of itself (at least in my acting world), I would offer up the following criterion for making right/right-er/right-est acting "choices" (performance decisions): "choose" to perform a particular moment of whole series of moments in such a way as to best move that audience most fully and deeply.

The best "choices" should always move an actor toward being exciting: to creating a real living moment that , while logical to experience, is logical to an exciting experience; which is, an experience that is varied, intense, complex, structured and elegant...and, if at all possible, a combination of all five at once!

Impossible you say? No; exciting acting experience is what separates the men from the boys, the women from the girls, the Meryl Streep, Anthony Hopkins--and a handful of others--from the rest of the pack--and, most cogently, the artist from the hack: the difference in performance quality arises from hard work that is entailed in becoming varied, intensel, complex, sutructured and elegant at all moments in the piece; i.e. brilliant. Remember: acting is easy; excellence is difficult...and requires constant work.


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