Friday, September 28, 2012

ON ACTING: COMEDY

I am doing all comedy scenes this month in class. Hence:

Comedy is different from drama--and yet they are the same. They are the same in that both obey all the major requirements of good acting: reality, conflict, honesty, interdependence and shared placement (in front of an audience); as well as structure and elegance. The rub between them lies in the last three elements of exciting acting: Intensity, Variety and Complexity.  (Please read my book, Acting is Living, for a complete exposition on these ten fundamentals of good acting,)

INTENSITY: Comedy requires a highly heightened intensity, compensating for an increased intensity with a reduced demand for variety and complexity.

While drama is intense, comedy is very, very very (often absurdly) intense...while of course the actors have to remain real and honest and elegant, etc. (the good actor mustn't lose all the other requirements of good acting in the process of comedy. In comedy, you lift the energised and stylistic head of the flower, but must not tear its roots out of the soil of good acting reality.)

VARIETY: Drama hopefully has much variety; whereas comedy is more emotionally monochromatic.

In fact, that's where the idea of comedy 'types' come from: a comic character has such an excess of one personality component that they seem to have little--if none--of any other.)  

COMPLEXITY: comedy has emotional simplicity (non-complexity, as opposed to the more complex demands of drama). That's why comedy has to move fast. If you slow down, the audience soon realizes that nothing profound or complex is going on. Comic characters are simpler in emotion complex, but make up for it by being intense in that emotion.

Comic characters are compulsive about their emotional needs. They refuse to admit to (or logically recognize when arguing any issue) any doubt in their 'rightness' of their logic. They seem beyond denial. Their relatively implausible argument (to us, the audience) --based on their fundamentally excessive human needs and doubt--drives them to certainty. That's why they say and do such irrational and unreasonable (funny) things in their conflictual discussions: THEY HAVE TO BE RIGHT!

This need and manifestation of certainty creates in the actor's/character's persona a quality of innocence if not naivety; and is a large measure of why they seem so delightfully appealing to audiences. They are absurd-ly human in their emotional need and commitment to fulfilling it; genially oblivious to what they are saying and/or doing in pursuit of the need-fulfillment.

2 Comments:

Blogger jojopig.com said...

Thanks for the posts dear.

3:05 AM  
Blogger John Milton said...

It is nice to see an article dedicated to this important topic. Thank you for sharing.

voice acting

12:47 AM  

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