Wednesday, October 24, 2007

ON ACTING: Character/Script Analysis

To begin with, there is no definitive character to analyze in a script (I've never seen a character's picture/photograph on a page; have you?): there is just a bunch of black and white straight and squiggly words on a white piece of paper that we choose to recognize (we have learned to interpret) as letters, words, phrases and sentences...and from that initial visual intake of those word/sound symbols, WE MAKE INTERPRETATIONS OF the emotional inner behavior (character) that WE ASSUME goes on into creating that language.

My central point is: from the very beginning of reading a script, there is nothing fixed and certain...there is no absolute "according to the script my character is..." The process of acting a character is from the very beginning subject to the actor's interpretation, estimate, knowledge and assumptions about human behavior...and the LANGUAGE that motivates and reveals it.

So the actor who aspires to be a good actor, and who, even more, wishes to analyze a 'character' well, had better be language/talk/verbal smart. They better be a great listener and absorber of how humans talk in everyday life, and why (the inner emotional urgency) that makes them talk how they talk. And the cheapest textbook on human behavior I know is the actor themselves. That book of knowledge is always available, and at hand. Actors: Watch how you talk, why you talk, when you talk...and what is going on inside you that initiates that talk.
All knowledge proceeds from self-knowledge...and that includes by default the knowledge of 'character' that is revealed, hinted and implied in the language/dialogue written on a white page of a script.


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