Sunday, July 08, 2007

ON ACTING: Comedy versus Drama.

May I propose some simple distinctions between comedy and drama.

In comedy, characters are less complex, but more intense; in drama, they are more complex while less intense.

Comedy is more unforgiving: in comedy you either are funny (and get a laugh or at least a smile) or not. In drama, the audience's judgement on actors is less unforgiving...actors in drama enjoy a less definitive and sliding scale of audience approbation. (How do you measure degrees of silence?)

Comic characters rarely admit they are wrong; their denial of reality is deep and unremitting (in fact, the other person is always assumed wrong). In drama, characters can enjoy moments of reasonable and even admitted doubt.

Comedy demands a greater degree of character innocence: comic characters rarely have any perspective on themselves and their situation. That what makes them do and say funny things. Whereas, dramatic characters are allowed a greater degree of self-awareness.

In comedy, a character's emotional needs are beyond extravagant. Their needs are obsessive/compulsive. Think of it this way: in drama, characters take their emotional needs seriously; in comedy, characters take their needs very, very, very, very fucking seriously.

More to come...


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