Wednesday, May 28, 2008

ON ACTING: Making Mistakes

Acting a character is stepping into the shoes of people who make mistakes. It is enacting characters who go up wrong doors when chasing the criminal, who fall in love with people who betray them and leave them.

To act carefully on stage or onscreen is counterproductive. Audiences love heroes who get wounded and killed; and fools who impulsively run into situations without thinking first. Fools and actors rush in where angels fear to tread. Characters you are playing may TRY to be reasonable, TRY to anticipate dilemmas, TRY to be sane, TRY to avoid tragedy or comedy...but they 99 out of 100 times they fail. Only a the end of two hours does one of them win.

So actors IN THEIR WORK must be prepared to take emotional risks, love, hate, be sad and confused--to make mistakes--more than the average reasonable person in average reasonable everyday life.

Impulsive behavior, not overly successful rationality, is the name of the acting game. All acting emotional training (whether for a scene or a career) is simply preparing the actor to achieve that blessedly confused, imbalanced state of emotional disarray.

It should not be difficult for actors to achieve. After all, they chose to be actors in the first place (right Mom and Dad?).


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