Saturday, March 10, 2007

ON ACTING: Minimizing "Acting with 'Frustration'"

She played the scene--and exhibited her emotional response to the given circumstances of the scene--with great "frustration".
She looked at my face. It registered dismay, chagrin and apparent criticism.
"But isn't frustration an emotion?" she said, challenging my dislike of that particular emotional 'choice' in a scene.
"Yes", I said. It is a valid emotional choice (valid in that is it 'real'--logical to life). But it is fundamentally unappealing. Who wants to watch a character exhibiting constant frustration? It is the manifestation of someone who has accepted defeat. Frustration is the emotional sign of someone who has accepted the impossibility of resolving their onerous situation: to wit, "I'm frustrated because I can't do anything about 'x', 'y' or 'z'!"
On the other hand, an interesting person (or character) is someone who believes (rightly or wrongly) they can change their circumstances in life. They are 'true believers'...they have the courage...the their convictions. They believe they can win the acted game, resolve the conflict in their favor.
Invariably, an actor will be more interesting when he/she enters a scene believing he/she (his/her character) can win! And when both characters in a scene exhibit that winner-like confidence in their conflictual ability to win, we have a compelling contest, a battle between confident equals, an interesting scene.
"Frustration' is a loser's lament. Save it for death.
The life of an exciting scene deserves more.


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