Friday, February 06, 2009

ON ACTING: "Repetitive Rhythm"

If the actor finds themselves performing throughout a scene in a constant rhythm, each line of dialogue emanating from them with the same accent and energy, without variation in pitch or tone, each movement steadily cadenced as if the actor is pacing rather than walking freely, this lack of rhythmic variation in a performance is often a (bad) sign.

It indicates the actor is controlling the performance with their head, their actor's brain acting as a control mechanism, a filter through which all natural variation of form and feeling (if there is any) blend into a constantly rhythmic release. Think of pouring a series of liquids through a filter: no matter how varied the diverse flows enter the filter, the resulting stream coming out steady, constant and monochromatic.

If the actor finds themselves in such a performing condition, the actor in their next run-through or film 'take' should 'kill the actor' in them, forget their previously 'planned' performance, and focus their entire attention on dealing with the other character in a goal seeking way. Seek to convince the 'other' character of the rightness of one's position, rather than worrying about the 'self' in acting.

Being other-focused rather than self-focused is the quickest was to achieve a desired state of natural emotional spontaneity and achieve the human variation that invariably results.


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