Tuesday, December 01, 2009

ON ACTING: Achieving Reality Plus

The actor's obligation in performance is primarily to be emotionally "real", that is, to really feel when portraying and character; to let those feels initiate and infuse all the character's overt actions (dialogue, movement, prop handling, etc., whether these actions be "natural" or highly stylized).

However, the actor's performance achievement of reality is only Step One on the road to good acting. Actors on reality shows are real, but (a) I find them generally boring; or (b) these reality actors generally get paid much less than actors on scripted shows, which may infer that producers don't value them as highly because they are not as good "actors"...if they really can be considered actors in the first place. (Which I believe they are...and should be unionized.)

A good actor, however, whether in reality TV or scripted shows, must strive for not only reality when they are performing but also exciting reality. Remember, audiences leave the reality of their lives and watch TV and go to movie houses to experience a heightened reality...and actors must provide that heightened experience through the exciting nature of their onstage performance: which asks that the actor must always be real, agreed, but that reality must contain elements of intensity, variety and complexity, and moreover be artfully structured and elegant in delivery. Those additional elements invariably will lift an actor's performance from just "real" reality to exciting reality, and heighten the audience's emotional identification and involvement...which, as we know, audiences seek, for which they are willing to pay for...and which provides the money which eventually trickles down to actors' pocketbooks.


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