Saturday, December 06, 2008

ON ACTING: Two Sets of 'Choices'

Actors often talk about "choices", those desired/desirable performance emotions and behaviors consciously pre-selected ad established in rehearsal--and chosen to be attempted/enacted/lived during performance.

I would like to consider another body of acting decisions, another body of acting "choices"--ones that are no less deserving of the word "choices" than those consciously pre-determined in rehearsal: those are the emotions and behaviors that unconsciously and often unexpectedly arise ("inner", spontaneously chosen?) during performance.

In a sense, they are the most 'creative' aspect of performance; emotions and behaviors which (in a true sense) have never occurred before (in that they have not been experienced and pre-selected in the rehearsal process; prior to performance birth, they have merely been swimming around in the actor's unconsciousness, not even considered as possibilities; unconscious 'perhaps-es', beyond the realm of pre-consideration, only to be given their first truth, form and reality to and from the actor when they are discovered and created anew during performance.

Some argue that these spontaneous "choices" are often the most profound performance "choices" of an actor, since they initially exist beyond the grasp of the actor's conscious knowledge of his/her behavior. They exist deeply within the actor's unconscious, beyond even the actor's self-knowledge, and will only be discovered fresh only as they are born and formulated in the moment. By definition, the actor is as surprised during performance by these "choices" as the audience.

2 Comments:

Blogger Ashlley said...

I like what you say here.

Once you are fully rehearsed to where it's second nature these sub-conscious choices can come about, from my experience at least. They can be the best because they come from physical memory and intelligence rather than from thought.

Sometimes your body knows best.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Cliff Osmond said...

Ashlley:
Sorry I am so late responding...but you are absolutely correct...following 'muscle memory', which follows rehearsal, is best!

2:31 PM  

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