Wednesday, January 16, 2008

ON ACTING: Venturing into the Unknown

Acting, as a specialized form of life, must mirror the following dichotomy inherent in life: the actor-as-character's drive to resolving the scene's conflict in her favor simultaneously leaves her open to the stinging possibility of defeat. No possibility of gain without the possibility of pain.

This all too human duality inherently exists therefore in all honest acting: The actor-as-character tries to win in every scene; but, being human must enter the scene with an all-too-real possibility of defeat.

Each step in the scene, therefore, each and every action in the scene, becomes an inner and outer balancing act, fraught with dramatic tension. The character walks across a tight rope of possibility; moving toward the other side of the precipice--fear battling courage, hope battling disastrous consequences--each step toward the goal fighting the risk of imbalance, the downward pull of gravity...and death.

Life--and therefore good acting--contains neither inevitable winners or losers...that's why we play the game, watch the scene: who will win and who will lose.

All actors in every scene must enter, and participate, in any scene with these dual possibilities always in play: "I could win; I could lose." To do less, to act at any moment totally self-assured of victory or defeat, is contrary to the facts of human existence; and, in acting, therefore, contrary to the facts of good, honest acting...and will create unreal human character/characteristics, and therefore uninteresting dramatic (by that I mean already pre-resolved; boring) situations.


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