Saturday, December 28, 2013

Dialog with an acting student.

What follows is a discussion I recently had with an acting student I am mentoring. We are discussing the training he is getting in a univeristy acting program. His comments are in normal face and mine are in bold face. We start by discussing that acting in doing and not talking, that plays are stories told in action and plays are not conversation.  (See also The Tao of Acting, my ebook that is on line).
They have stressed the importance that plays are not conversation quite heavily--I failed to mention that in the email. 'Glad to hear it.

We have been taught the importance of doing and what is happening in the scene. Exactly, the pantomimic dramatization of the scene is done by converting the dialogue into the action it represents.

According to my professor, the actor's job is to do something, and you want something and you want it badly right now, and what makes the action dynamic is the actor's energetic pursuit of the character's said goal in the scene's circumstances. OK. I won't argue the point. I would substitute that your job is to react physically because you have a strong emotional response to what has just occurred.

An example that my professor used was from Chekhov's Three Sisters show--how one of Masha's lines is, "I'm bored, bored, bored," and Masha saying that is to get un-bored by stimulating something desirable, in other words, to act upon her environment in order to change it. Great example. To act bored, the actor must react energetically to the stimuli that makes her so express herself. I don't agree about acting upon her environment, I would rather say react to her environment as a response to the stimuli. I think wanting to change the environment puts too many 'have to's' in the actor's head which should be clear and open to receiving stimuli so the actor can react.

We were also taught to always play the positive, no matter how bleak its outcome or situation is.Good. The negative goes nowhere and inhibits action. To play the positive is to have a strong emotional response that moves the scene onward, but the business of moving the scene onward is the natural result of the strong response of the actor and the actor does not have to be thinking about moving the scene or making a choice that is positive. If the actor has an uninhibited, strong emotional response the positive will happen.

But yes, in short, we have been taught the importance of action. IT is called ACTing after all.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy

Whew! These past two months have been a whirlwind of activity. I apologize fro the long break in posts. I hope that these two months have been busy for your career as well,  There is no reason why a good actor is not in a Christmas play of some kind.  Keep building that resume.  And remember that community theatre, even amateur community theatre, is a good source of experience and information.   Networking among cast and crew members of community theatres will send you straight to more auditions and other helpful events like workshops, etc.
Don't neglect them.

Two hints.  1 you have auditioned for a call back and are waiting to hear.   The proper way to handle this is to assume you have not got the part and to audition for something else as soon as possible.  2. "But they really liked me and told be how well I had auditioned and how talented I am."  They tell everyone that;  It is just how the pros operate. They make everyone feel good so there will be nothing but good reports about them.  The old adage is "Never believe your press releases."  Which means that you must take everything in this business with a grain of salt.  People do not lie necessarily, they just try to be encouraging and positive.  But it never means that you have the role

It is important that you keep working as an actor. You must keep acting.  Even though November and December are traditionally slow months for professionals, they are pretty good months for amateurs.  As long as you are not UNION--AEA, you can do amateur plays. And that is so even if your are SAG/AFTRA. At least it was so when I was acting.

Keep acting, keep acting, keep acting.  If you are an actor, that is what you do.  NO EXCUSES, just get out there and find a play or indie to be in.

I wish you the very best for you and your career and I hope Santa brings you your union card, God bless and MERRY CHRISTMAS!