Wednesday, December 16, 2009

ON ACTING: The Complexity of Emotions

From Tim A. on October 21 at 10:37pm:

"I know I keep asking you questions Mr. Osmond, but I really want to learn as much as I can, so for that, I don't think it's right to apologize.

"I have been reading reviews of movies, and some say that actors seem to play two emotions at once. Reading your blog posts, you talk about using exercises to get you cooked, but I don't think I've read any about playing more than one emotion at a time, or even if a character goes through a whole array of emotions during a scene. How would you prepare for that?"

From me on December 16: "Tim: First: sorry for the delay in answering you. And never apologize for quesions. There can be no answers without them."

"Second: as to your question about playing more than one emotion at a time: Think of emotions as pistons in an eight cylinder car. While one piston/emotion is maximally rising to the top at any given moment, all other pistons are in the motor functioning and waiting for their turn to rise to the top. To wit: I may be angry at any given moment, but I know y sadness co-exists beneath my anger, as well as my laughter and/or any other emotion.

"So I'm angry; and suddenly I laugh because I'm sad. All three are in operation at once; what the audience sees at the surface is merely a result of which emotion dominates at any particular time due to what particular stimulus occurred just prior.

"All emotions are co-existent in all human beings; and they are not exclusive when they surface. Others are present as well; only at differently apparent levels.

"So, Tim, to be emotionally real--which is what we actors all strive for--is to be complex and simulataneous alive. There is no acting emotion without another threatening to reveal itself from below and within. How do we learn to do this? We learn to be emotionally real and it will automatically occur. Don't 'play' emotion. Be real and emotion will play you...properly and with simultaneous possibility."


Blogger spldbch said...

It never occurred to me how psychology might relate to acting. In fact, acting requires a very thorough understanding of how human beings experience emotion. Thanks for opening my eyes to this.

8:36 AM  
Blogger Cliff Osmond said...

My pleasure. We actors are in the human behavior business. We must learn about ourselves, and through ourselves others, in order to act well. Merry Christmas, by the way. And Happy New Year.

6:47 PM  

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