Thursday, May 17, 2012

ON ACTING: The Art of the Unknown

I sometimes ask young actors how much they know of themselves; how much they understand how they will emotionally respond under the deepest vicissitudes of life? The youngest say 85%. The middle-aged say 50%. I tell them I am down to 2%...and my surety is declining from there.

There are as many cells in the body as stars in the universe. The journey into us is about as predictable as our journey beyond. The good actor therefore is most exciting when their final performance is ultimately beyond their own analytic grasp, amenable only to their deep experiential involvement (in performance) in their personal inner emotional universe.

When an excellent, practiced and complex actor subsequently sees their performance on the screen they are often surprised as the rest of the audience by some of their own (sub-conscious) acting choices. "Oh, my God…so that‘s what I am when I am under that kind of pressure. My love has elements of sadness in it; and sexual need. Oh my God, look at my confusion, too! I‘ll be damned."

Such surprise/discovery moments are a good sign: they mean that the actor had been living at a performance level of complexity that even the actor herself had no idea what she was emotionally capable of achieving.

Science is based on the formulaic replication of the known; art is based on the experiencing and unconscious revelation of the inner unknown.


Post a Comment

<< Home