Sunday, April 25, 2010

ON ACTING: Doing the Work

From the desk of Casting Director Lisa Bramon Garcia:

"...The thing that's killing me the most is how actors are coming into the room both unprepared and powerless. I understand the running around and the last minute appointments and the feeling of being totally out of control... but I have seen actor after actor tank themselves. And it's making me crazy.

And yet, those actors who've come in and just played the scene -- with focus, confidence, simplicity, and centeredness have grabbed our attention. The ones who have made it about the work in the scene, on the page.

In the end, it's got to be about the work. Not the job, not the room, not the day... but the scene and the luxury of sinking oneself into the character, into the moment, and playing the exchange. For ourselves. That's what we came for. Some actors know how to do that and just forget. Some get distracted. Some can't and have no idea what to do. No matter what, anything that interferes with the simple and clear connection of the characters, the meat of the scene... will inhibit any possibility of that insane moment in time coming to fruition. It's so much easier than so many actors make it. And yet we let so much outside of the work, outside of the scene, get in our way.

I had a few real "aha" auditions on this show. A few actors who came in and did extraordinary work. And they all - from Fisher Stevens to Lee Majors, reading for the same role mind you - were in the scene in the most complete and specific and clear way. And it was undeniable.

So let's get out of our way, all of us, me included. And get to the work. To the thing we know and love. To the thing that we came here to do. Everything else is the haze that keeps us from the sun."

Friday, April 23, 2010

ON ACTING: "Chemistry" (...and on a personal note: a return.)


The student mentioned her problem with "not always having chemistry" with an audition partner. This was my response to her:

..."As to 'chemistry' with other actors, that is an issue that an actor should not have, whether during an audition or during performance. Chemistry with another actor is like a mulling over a one night stand set up right at closing time...rather than thinking: anybody will do.

"You are too worried about long-term effects: like who you're gonna wake up to in the morning. After the fact is a long time concern that part of a rational person's make up; it should not be an actor's concern; such worries are a luxury. Remember, acting is a disease free zone...and we kick them out right after the performance or audition. Why not have chemistry with whoever says yes at 2 AM, or whomever is appointed as an audition partner? It's fun; and should have no further consequences."

Thursday, April 08, 2010

ON ACTING: Political Drama

Drama which decides a plot issue too easily is political theater. Political theatre settles its questions for the audience, giving them one side of the issue fairly, the author’s side; it is ultimately boring. It is preaching to the choir. It offers ready made, simplistic answers to complex issues. It is children’s theater in the most pejorative sense: “Don’t think; just do as Mommy (in this case, the writer or prejudiced actor) says.”

Polemic art is dishonest art; it prejudges the outcome, fixes the game. Its purpose is not art, not even education; its purpose is politics and propaganda. It panders to the audience. And it justifies itself by declaring such subjective proselytizing dramatically inevitable.