Monday, August 09, 2010

ON ACTING: Sprezzatura

The Italians have a word: sprezzatura. It means the art that conceals art. It is the essence of elegant acting.

It is removing the scaffolding after completing the building. It is what defines a pro: great actors make it seem so easy that everyone thinks they can do it. It is Fred Astaire dancing. It is Mohamed Ali boxing: "floating like a butterfly, stinging like a bee."

A famous American actor James Cagney once said it well: Acting is "learn your lines, don't bump into the furniture, and never get caught acting." It is sprezzatura, the art that conceals art.


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