Friday, April 27, 2007

ON ACTING: Form and Substance; a Properly Fitted Glove

Over-acting is often the gap between a limited honest feeling and its overdone acted expression. It is like putting on physically expressive glove too big for the emotional hand.

In life, and therefore in good acting, form should follow function; the size of feeling alone should dictate the quantity of form (voice, body, etc.) acted, and only in a size proportion to the quantity of emotion felt. However, when the outer physical expression of an acted moment is of greater size than the real emotion felt, the actor should chastise himself/herself: she/he has fallen prey to simple bad/false acting at worst, or an insecure underlining of an honest felt emotion, at least.

For example (of the latter underlining out of insecurity), in my writing, when I write an inadequate sentence, one I sense has little intrinsic weight (feeling?), I have an unfortunate tendency to underline it, or italicize it, or PUT IT IN CAPS, or add exclamation points at the end of the sentence!!! Thus, erroneously does an actor whose bodily/vocal form is of greater magnitude than what would arise in everyday life from a particular quantity of feeling: he/she is committing the same sin of expressive falseness. It could be called, if you will, "gilding the lily", or "goose-ing the performance".

The corrective to such an unfortunate tendency: the actor should reduce the acted expressive form to a size (generally lesser) warranted in real life by that amount of honestly felt emotion (i.e., let the sentence stand by itself, without the underlining, or italicizing, or CAPITALIZATION, or superfluous !!!!s), OR, if the actor truly desires a larger form of expressive feeling, the actor must more fully and deeply feel the honest emotional truth of a moment to truly warrant the physical size the actor desires (in the case of my writing: I must write a more meaningful (felt?) sentence and thereby avoid the seduction of unwarranted and false hyperbolic form.


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