Saturday, January 14, 2012

ON ACTING: Becoming "the Character."

How do I, the actor, become the character?

ANSWER: You don' are always you. What you do in acting is you transform yourself--become (and live out) a side of yourself that best approximates your and the director's interpretation of the writing (dialogue and other 'info' about the "character") that the scriptwriter has given you.

The script is your interior and exterior map, a set of guidelines and actions so you yourself can transform yourself into (performing) living and acting onstage or onset in a manner that is logical to the writing as interpreted by you and the director, consistent to human nature as the audience knows it, and is entertaining and exciting.

"What side of myself does the script ask me to be?" That is the legitimate question an actor must ask when confronting a script What would be most logical for me to feel and do if the facts of the script were to happen to me? What would be my feelings and intentions that would guide me into saying "my character's dialogue" (and doing) in response to what other character's say to me (and do to me)?

Just as I must fit the costume given to me by the costumer, and wear the make-up painted on me by the make-up person, I fit and wear the dialogue and actions of the script to my chosen feelings when performing. The feelings and actions in performance are mine; I am them. During the three to five minutes of a scene, I am "the character," there is no separation between us. When the scene is over, the producers can take the costume back, rub the make-up off my face, place the script back up on the shelf, but when I was performing, they were all mine and I was them: my dialogue, my make-up, my costume.

That transubstantiation is the magic and madness and megalomania of a good actor's performance. Good acting technique is studying and learning and finding the process that best enables the actor to metamorphosis ("morph")--IN REALITY--into living as the interpreted "character."

Is it possible? Of course. We, actors and non-actors alike--do it everyday. The soccer Mom morphs into a high powered lawyer at work, the cutthroat executive morphs into the tender, feeling lover at night, the President of the US morphs into the absent-minded husband and concerned story-reading father on the weekend.

We all play--and are expected to play--many roles--IN REALITY--every day. Why not--if we are profession actors--learn to be able to play one more in a play or film?


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