Sunday, August 15, 2010

ON ACTING: Auditioning and the Script

The auditioning actor should never worry about their dialogue delivery when she/he has a script in hand.

Dialogue is just another “thing” in the actor's hands, to gently offer, share or if angry, throw at someone during a negotiation (i.e., between characters in the scene). The character's next line on a page is a simple utensil, a pliable instrument available on a tray before us and available to pick up and use at any time when we engage someone who has just said something to us.

Dialogue is the actor/warrior's gift from the writer; on the printed page it is just just below our eye level; all it takes is a fleeting casual look to easily discover it, and then gently (or mightily or sadly or however we feel) aim it at the opposing character.

The writers send us into battle. But before they do, they arm us with a page or two or three of verbal tools; language. mere weapons that are nothing more than pillows stacked on a chair before us, or sandwiches on a plate, or pebbles on a beach, ever-ready for us to pick up to toss at someone at our pleasure and leisure. The actor shouldn't panic or freeze when a scene’s conflict requires a verbal retort selected from the page of the auditioning script. Rather the actor should maintain emotional--if not always visual--contact with the opposing adversary, glance quickly and casually away from them and down at the page in their hands, pick the idea off the page and hurl it at the other character.

It is as simple as that. After all, who among us worry--or even thinks long--about the simple act of picking up a coke, sandwich or hammer and tossing it as someone? If w feel like tossing...we toss. We leave it up to our feelings to decide and dictate our actions, those generally totally unconscious and perfectly natural (albeit dramatic) activities.

So that is exactly how we should behave when someone says something to us in an auditioning scene: we pick up a responsive piece of dialogue off our page to heave something back at them. “There. Take that. So what do you have to say about that? That statement (word, idea) should finally prove to you I’m right and you are wrong…and I deserve to get out of this relationship what I want.”

End of moment.

After a series of such moments (some of them even most tender and confusing throw-backs): End of scene.

End of actor worry about delivering a piece of dialogue in an audition while holding a script in their hand. Words, pillows, sandwiches…what, me worry?...I can pick them up and toss them at someone as I do in everyday life…with ease, elegance and often gentleness and love. ‘No sweat’.

Next audition.


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