Sunday, May 06, 2007

ON ACTING: Perspectives on Comic Acting

In comedy, a character's emotional needs are, without exception: extreme. Blood flows more greatly to the comic character's heart and groin, leaving less blood to operate in the head area. That's why comic characters do and say funny things. They are operating under a level of emotional need most of us (in the laughing audience) would consider unreasonable. And their great desire to fulfill their unreasonable emotional needs are what causes them to do and say unreasonable things. And it allow the audience to have a dual reaction: "I know exactly how they (the comic character) feels...but I wouldn't go that far!"

Comic characters are never funny to themselves. Comic characters operate in a state of denial-of-reality. Some call that comic state 'innocence'. The logic behind a comic character's blinded posture: anything but a dishonest evaluation of their emotional state would inhibit comic characters goal-seeking, and keep them from the taking the extreme (funny, to the audience) measures their great emotional needs require.

In comedy, the other character(s) is always totally wrong and the comic character is (to themselves) always right!

Comedy operates at the top of human emotional range (but never over-the-top...over-the-top is false acting!) Comic characters operate in a fast paced world because their emotional need is extreme, and comic characters therefore have little time to pause on the road to fulfilling/relieving that extreme emotional state. (One does not amble to the bathroom when one's bladder is extremely full! Comic characters, whose emotional bladders are always filled to the brim, move very rapidly and often clumsily to find goal-achieving relief.)

The primary obligation of a comic character/actor is to live in a self-created world of tension (created by great emotional need and the great goal-seeking need to fulfill it) so that when the ensuing joke, the funny action, the silly (to the audience) words and reactions flows from the comic actor's body and mind it enables the identifying audience to relieve its own actor-induced tension in the form of a laugh.


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