Saturday, April 26, 2008

ON ACTING: "Interdependence"

A properly performing actor accepts that s/he can only achieve their objective--the ultimate character raison d'etre in a scene--THROUGH the other person. The other character--and the other character alone--contains the possibility of your character's success; therefore the other person must be listened to, looked at, evaluated, and responded to; scored upon, hit (with words and deeds), made to capitulate, defeated. And all this interaction must happen as in life...on a moment to moment, sub-aware level.

The other person controls your character's fate. The other person is the primary playing field through which each character must move through in order to secure victory.

Actors often inadequately act by disobeying this fundamental obligation of character interdependence. They are bad actors. Watching them is like watching a tennis match with a brick wall between participants: each contestant on opposite ends of the court manifesting wonderful tennis shots, perhaps, brilliant lobs, cross-court volleys, but those shots, those non-interdependent efforts, hit a wall, each player isolated in his own world, playing the game narcissistically between himself and himself.

It would be like seeing a boxing match between two fighters who never engage, who only shadow box with themselves. We wait for the referee to say: "Make a fight, boys." Or like watching two basketball teams who remain on the opposite ends of a court, never engaging, never driving through their opponents to the opposite basket. The audience would soon look at each other, as if to say: "When's the game going to start?"

It takes two to tango; it takes two to box--and it takes two (or more) to act interdependently. To act without interdependence, to act in isolation, reacting only to oneself, is the actor's equivalent of masturbation; an act which often feels like the real thing, but nothing ever has been created that way.


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