Friday, March 06, 2009

ON ACTING: Actor as Educator?

The student asked: "Does the actor have a responsibility to educate the audience?"

Not directly, I answered.

We actors educate NOT by drawing lessons; but rather by performance. Our tools are emotion, not analysis. We educate by indulging (throwing ourselves) in the failed and impulsive mistakes of the character. We are the unthinking tortoise and the hare, both unaware of the race, the lesson of our tale drawn not by us but by the audience at the conclusion of our character's extremely slow and steady (tortoise) or extremely fast and erratic (hare) behavior as we both seek a finish line.

Actors are not balanced jurists, drawing lessons (concluding laws) from the failures and successes of the characters. Moral-making is the audience's task. Rather, actors provide the evidence of life truths in the haphazard way of life: actors are the two adversaries, stumbling and arguing subjective points of view.


The audience is educated by the actor playing the murderous Othello (namely, to love "not wisely but too well") NOT by his understanding insightful speech at the end of the play, by his failure to observe the lesson himself during the play.

The impulsive, unbalanced life of an stage is the lot (and glory) of actor. We actors do not say learn from me, but rather they say: "watch me live the life of a character totally, extremely, committed to my character's goals and emotional needs; and whether I win or lose, survive or fail, is irrelevant; what is important to me as the character is my emotional pursuit of victory.

My obligation (job as an actor) is to present to you (within the story) the un-prejudged life and human emotional existence from which you will draw your conclusions.

As I progress on my character's path to his destiny, to my ultimate victory or defeat in the story, I will allow learn, to find your lesson for yourselves, to draw your own Aesop's moral from the fable, by finding your 'education' through your emotional involvement and identification with my dramatic or comedic acting experience, and the emotions they engender in me throughout.


Blogger Constance Kitatake said...


My personal email bounced, but want to send this message below. Here is the bounce:

From: Mail Delivery System
Date: 03/16/09 01:38:04
Subject: Mail delivery failed: returning message to sender

This message was created automatically by mail delivery software.

A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its
recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed:
mailbox is full: retry timeout exceeded

Here is my email.

From: Constance Kitatake
Date: 03/16/09 01:37:51
Subject: The T Word


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All the best,

1:46 AM  

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