Monday, November 19, 2007

ON ACTING: In the Control of Others

To actors--especially those among you who would consider yourselves to be 'control freaks'--to be a good actor is to accept the incontrovertible fact: ...the other person(s) in the scene controls your specific performance; i.e., the activation of your emotions.

You heard me: your emotional performance is at the mercy of the performances of others.

Life (which good acting manifests) can be prepared for generally, but emotional life's actual and specific arousal in a scene cannot be pre-determined in advance. You can prepare/practice for the game of life, but the reality of the game of life (or acting) will ultimately be determined by outside events.

Even when your emotional preparation is full and specific--you have decided that you want certain emotional performance 'choices' to occur; to facilitate this you have prepared yourself for a defined emotional predilection of sadness, or happiness or anger based on (and caused by) your assumed events of the preceding hour, day, week, month or year--ultimately and unavoidably it will be the other person (and/or events) that occur in the here and now which will tum your wished-for desired proclivities into specific actualities

To repeat: you may prepare for a particular emotional susceptibility in a scene, you may even decide at what point in the scene you'd like to get mad, or happy or confused, etc...,but exactly when, and how, and to what extent you will specifically and ultimately feel the quantity and quality of the particular emotion desired will be determined by--if you seek reality in the scene (and you better if you want to be a good actor)--the specific stimuli given to you be the other person or events of the scene; they will be the final determinant. OR: to paraphrase the old saw: "Life is what will happen in spite of our best plans!!"


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