ON ACTING: Relationships; Past and Present
For example, when Hamlet’s father appears onstage in Act I of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, he and Hamlet obviously have a lot of past, they are father and son, after all--and they initially relate accordingly--but the father’s and son's primary relationship in the scene is based on the Ghost wanting something from Hamlet in the present. In fact that’s why he appears to Hamlet at that particular point of time and place. That’s why he talks to him. Their primary and basic "relationship" in the scene is based on the King's desire to convince his son to enact revenge on Claudius, the usurping King! And Hamlet wants something from the King: "Go away! Don’t burden me with old guilt and old love, with a new severe responsibility of regicide. Be a dead father and not a demanding present one. Return to the netherworld. Let me remain happily a student."
That is what the whole scene (and play) is about: Will Hamlet fulfill his father’s present need for revenge, or will Hamlet find an excuse to shirk his filial obligation? The conflict of the scene becomes the King’s present need for revenge set against Hamlet’s need to maintain and enjoy his youthful innocence.
The past relationship (father and son; and the attendant emotions) is prelude to this essential present relationship, that of revenge-seeking father versus equivocating son. Past may be texture on the present, but the real drama, the real "relationship" governing the scene's primary feelings (and actions and dialogue) is whether The Ghost-father will get Hamlet to kill Claudius.
Their present father-son relationship is based on that. It trumps any past feelings they may have/had for one another.