Tuesday, March 03, 2009

ON ACTING: Surprise!

When an excellent, practiced and complex film actor sees their performance on the screen for the first time, they are often surprised as the rest of the audience by some of their (sub-conscious) acting choices.

For example, watching themselves in a re-play of love story, the actor might respond: "My God, look at that. My deep involvement in a love relationship has elements of sadness in it; and sexual need. Oh my God, look at my confusion! I’ll be damned.”

They review their performance as an outsider: “So that’s what I'm like when I am under that kind of dramatic pressure".

That reaction indicates that the everyday subjective personal view of the actor has been replaced by a more insightful after-the-fact objective side of him/herself; and properly banished are the dreams, hopes, desires and often denials of the would-be actor, to be replaced by the brutally honest (and perhaps cheering) evaluation of the actor as objectively viewing audience.

Hooray when that happens: it means that the actor had been earlier performing on set not as actor/director (watching themselves during performance), but had been living during the actual performance at a surprising level of depth, profundity and complexity that even the actor herself had no idea what she was emotionally capable of achieving.

A happy surprise!


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