Thursday, January 18, 2007

ON ACTING: Poetry and Logic

A student did a monologue from Shakespeare. It was filled with poetic feeling. It became long, tedious. It all blurred together. It was a mass of feeling without form.

I asked the actor 'why' the character was saying what he said. What was the purpose? What was the logic behind the poetry?

The actor did the monologue again, incorporating basic acting elements into his performance: logic and purpose, above all. The poetic language became understandable, the character's/actor's feelings arose naturally, and they were varied and differentiated. The monologue became perfectly clear, and much shorter. (After all, what is all language but a conscious or unconscious attempt to maneuver the human landscape to our needful design. Verbal sounds without logic and purpose are pre-human, mere grunts and groans.)

I offer this general rule to all actors: When given poetry, find the logic in the language. When given logic, find the poetry. Or...find the plot drive in the character; and the character richness in the plot. It's all the same thing.


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