Monday, December 17, 2007

ON ACTING: The Value of 'Dumbing Down'

Drama and comedy happen to the unsuspecting.

If human characters knew that pain, suffering, trials and tribulations, or, on the other hand, foolish behavior and the ridicule of others, would be their oncoming dessert, they would flee--avoid involvement--at all costs. Their life would not consist of drama and comedy. Non-theatrial blandness--safety--would be their reality.

'Fools rush in where others fear to tread.' That is the motto of actors.

However, sometimes actors as they enter the performance, forget to forget that whereas they have knowledge of the beginning, middle and end of the script--the character hasn't.

When actors have trouble forgetting the oncoming events of the script--and they 'play on top of the material'...or 'play results'...or 'indicate'...all forms of an actor knowing too much in advance about the plot and the character's emotional response to the plot's events, I recommend that actors 'dumb down' the character, drop his or her IQ by forty points...which in truth is what happens to people when they take things so seriously that they enter the domain of drama and comedy. Life becomes so important and involving that too great an amount of blood flows to the groin or heart that little is left over for their brain.

I offer 'dumbing down' as an acting preparation for all good performances of dramatic and comic characters. It is fun--and performance profitable--to take on dramatic and comedic events of a script without consciousness aforethought. Ignorance is performance bliss.


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