Sunday, September 11, 2011

ON ACTING: The Irish Government is Wrong

The Irish government give tax breaks to their writers...but not to their actors. The rationale is that writers are creative, whereas actors are "interpretive" artists (not "creative": they do not create original material, but merely interpret the creative material of others: namely, writers).

The Irish government is wrong,

Writers and actors are both creators, if we mean by that the establishment of something tangibly new, something that had not gone before. Both sets of artists take experience--in the case of writers, the experience of their lives and educations, in the case of actors, the experience of the written piece presented to them to perform (as well as their life and education), and filter this experiential material through their own individual imaginations, through their own emotional sensibilities, creating a new emotional imaginative form and narrative (writers through subsequent story and words/dialogue, actors through their subsequent physical being in performance, their voices--the sound of the dialogue--and their other physical actions or gesture and movement). Both mold raw material into something not seen or heard before.

Both actors and writers, if you want, re-interpret, their experience into something new. They both absorb tangible material set before their senses, giving it a new creative form. Only God Himself created out of nothing (or...perhaps he had molecules left over from creating another universe?)

Putting theology aside, the Irish government should tax them all, or tax them none (of course taxing God is at best a moot question; somebody in the Irish tax collectors office has to find Him first in order to collect any tax lien.)

Actors, remember these two things: pay your taxes, are creative.

Only bad (false) actors listen to the Irish government and limit themselves to mere interpretation of the writer's script. The writer's material is just a beginning of the actor's creative process. The writer's dialogue is simply an initial visual (albeit de-limiting and defining, but subsequently, when you speak the words and create the movement, a full personal physical experience) that aids you, stimulates you in your creatively unique (and once and forever; each time you do it, it is never exactly the same) acting performance.

Writers don't interpret dialogue in the sense of dialogue being solely a creation of the writer (which is, after all, nothing but black straight and squiggly lines on a white piece of paper to begin with. The actor's understanding of them is a joint act bewteen writer and actor) The actors IN PERFORMANCE create with their voices, their body, their emotions--dare I say soul): their full human to make manifest the meaning of the dialogue TO THEM.

It is said of Shakespeare that "he didn't write his thoughts; he thought with his pen." Actors don't just act the dialogue; the dialogue arises through their experience. They are both creative acts...deserving of equal respect...if not of tax breaks.


Blogger Sarah Allen said...

I think your right. Both writing and theater are, at their core, all about exploring humanity.

Broadway Baby

4:37 PM  

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