Saturday, February 21, 2009

ON ACTING: More About Control

There are many actors who want to maintain conscious control of every aspect of their performances, including the emotions they wish to feel. To them, I say, "good luck"! Emotions, the very fact of them, as well as how and in what manner they arise is a thing beyond precise, specific and conscious control. Consider the following:

Emotions are not discrete. A single emotion does not end, and another begins. Emotions overlap. They are like musical notes of a piano played with a depressed foot pedal, a blending of subsequent sounds over time.

Or, the rise and fall of emotions are like pistons, all part of a single moving engine: one piston may be dominant at a particular moment--‘I’m angry more than sad and sexy…but I’m also confused and hurt’at the same time--only one coming to the top of , dominating, the engine’s actions, but the others are co-existent and simultaneous operative.

Drive straight ahead on a safe and empty road sometime. Suddenly make a turn to the left. Your whole body does not make a full turn. Part of your body still maintains forward direction. Then make a right turn. Suddenly one part of your body is reacting to the momentum of the right turn, while part of it is still responding to the earlier forward and left momentum. (In fact, your body will be going in all three directions at once!)

So it is with emotions. Therefore, an actor who enacts his feelings one at a time, discretely, one following the other, as if going in one emotional direction at a time, is a false actor.

Life, which acting emulates, is too complex a thing to allow such conscious control. The good, smart actor, knowing these truths of emotional spontaneity and complexity, enters a scene open to feeling, but allows the reality of the stimuli of the ongoing scene to unconsciously affect him/her in that complex, mysterious thing called "emotions".

5 Comments:

Blogger Constance Kitatake said...

Mickey Rourke got me thinking about classes with you and your wonderful insights and times past. Hope you are well. Your e-mail is full. Would love to reconnect.

Connie (Constance) Barry (Kitatake)

7:09 PM  
Blogger funny girl said...

(I may be double-posting; not sure if it took my comment)

Thanks so much for answering my question about control. Now if I can just convince myself to "let go" and let those emotions play out...so much trust involved...argh!

6:12 AM  
Blogger Cliff Osmond said...

Just keep making the "...argh" louder and louder, fuller and fuller...until..."AAARRRGGHHHH!!!...I just can't control it anymore!!!!"

3:08 PM  
Blogger Cliff Osmond said...

The last "argh" comment was to funny girl, not Connie!

To Connie, I say: "My email is not full. It may have to do with your server and mine not getting along! We will reconnect, however."

3:18 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

Cliff, I see that I'm not the only one not getting through to your email after doing so in the past. Well, I'll toast you a day late and a continent away. Best wishes from an arts & heritage supporter. - Linda

10:17 AM  

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