ON ACTING: The Craziness of it All
Me (to him): Ideally, no.
He: You mean, we really believe we are living onstage in reality, that the other characters in a scene are our real wives, real bosses, real lovers, that we are not on a set?
Me: When acting, yes.
He: Then all actors acting are a little bit crazy, thinking that a performance is reality.
Me: Crazy as opposed to...?
He: Living in everyday reality.
Me: Everyday reality is just as crazy. We believe lies all the time, accept non-facts as facts: that our wives and girlfriends are faithful when they are not, that our fathers hate us when they love us dearly, that we are untalented when we really are talented...and act accordingly.
As I have said many times in this blog in the past, acting onstage is inherently nothing different than what we do in life off stage. Only actors do onstage life, on demand, in front of people, withing very narrow parameters of words and deeds...and excitingly. Craziness--believing in what we imagine is true but may turn out not to be when the curtain descends or the director yells "Cut!"--is not confined to acting. Welcome to life...and what the poet and critic Coleridge called the "willing suspension of disbelief." He said audiences practice it--crying over, or laughing at and being scared by fictional lives portrayed on stage or on screen. If audiences can suspend their disbelief and accept (by their real emotional involvement) onstage and onscreen fiction as fact, why can't actors? In fact, for actors to do anything else would be crazy of them, no?