Tuesday, March 29, 2011

ON ACTING: To Audition

In Webster's Third Unabridged Dictionary, "audition" is defined as "a trial performance to appraise an entertainer's merits."

The root word of audition is "to audit," which the same dictionary defines as "to examine and verify"; with the word "verify" is defined as "to serve as conclusive proof."

Therefore the actor must see an audition as a form of final performance where the auditor (the prospective employer, or his surrogate, the casting director) examines the actor's work to discover conclusive proof that the actor can do the job. Thus, the actor in an audition cannot just promise to be good in the role, or imply that she will be a good actor when hired, but to substantiate fully that she is good. Her audition must be conclusive proof.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

ON ACTING: Yourself as Textbook

Actors are severely limited in their understanding and acceptance of a character’s objectives in a scene when they are unable to understand and accept their own objectives in everyday life.
To address this possible self-knowledge gap, I recommend actors ponder some recently completed events in their life, and ask themselves: “What did I fundamentally want from that person I was just speaking to? What basic purpose made me do what I did with that other person? What was the intention behind my basic words and actions? What aim did I have that made me feel good or bad when I did or did not achieve it?”
When actors can understand and their basic everyday life goals more fully, they will be much more able to understand and accept their characters goals and actions in a performance endeavor.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

ON ACTING: Craft and Art

The craft of acting involves the actor being emotionally honest in living out the conflict of the scene; to really look and listen to the other actors-as-characters in the scene, and to express one's honest feelings in the scene in the words and movements given to the actor by the writer and director.

But to relay on craft alone in a performance is to be "crafty"--with all the hints of dishonesty implied in that term.

Exciting acting is an art as well as a craft. Craft emphasises the practical efforts involved in a task; art involves the end result of such craft.

The art of acting is the intensity, variety and complexity of feeling that an actor's performance exhibits. The craft of acting is simply (and nobly) the means used to achieve and package such a performance

Craft without art is shallow and incomplete. Art without craft, however, is impossible. They are twin efforts, symbiotically entwined in any great performance.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

ON ACTING: Monologues

There are three essential questions to be asked (and answered) when approaching a monologue:

(1) Who (in specific) are you talking to?
(2) What are you trying to convince them to agree with you about (whether directly or indirectly)?
(3) Why are you talking to them in the first place?...what is the emotional discomfort (feeling) that is causing you to talk to them (sub-text; emotional motivation, etc) which, if they agree with your point of view, will be ameliorated (lessened)?

Who, what, why...we talk, we tell a story, we argue a point, to convince someone in particular to identify and agree with us so our pain or pleasure can be addressed in a more positive, purposeful manner.