Trusting the Response

"A Revolutionary Thought"



(This exciting concept emerged at a MASTER CLASS one night)


If our aim is to have an acting process that as much as possible replicates life, then maybe we should consider the following. 


IN LIFE a person will start a conversation because they have a reason to push for achieving a particular outcome.  That person, who INSTIGATES the conversation, plainly has a plan of some sort in place because if they didn’t they wouldn’t start the conversation.


IN LIFE the person who INSTIGATES the conversation knows certain things about the nature of the circumstances that have provoked them to commence the conversation. IN LIFE they also know about the details of the relationship that they have with the person with whom they are about to converse.  IN LIFE they also would have some hopes as well as some expectations as to what the outcome of this conversation is likely to be.


So, although the instigator DOESN’T KNOW what the outcome of the conversation will be they DO have some plans in place relating to what they are going to do.


BUT IN LIFE the other person in the conversation often has little idea that this conversation is going to take place.   IN LIFE they more than likely have no clear idea how they will RESPOND until they hear the nature of issue that is driving the conversation.  IN LIFE the RESPONDER does know the details of the relationship they have with the INSTIGATOR.  And they will have their own understanding of the circumstances that exist before the conversation starts.  But, IN LIFE they have no other information to act on before the INSTIGATOR commences the conversation.


IN LIFE the RESPONDER knows how they want to deal with the relationship, as it exists at the start of the conversation.  The RESPONDER also knows how they might like to deal with the circumstances they are currently facing IN LIFE.  But, they DON’T KNOW how they are going to respond to the conversation until they hear WHAT is unfolding and also HOW it is unfolding.


If that is how it is IN LIFE … does this mean that the actor playing the RESPONDER should have NO plans as to how they will RESPOND until the INSTIGATOR speaks.  Does this mean that the moment that the conversation begins is the time that the actor playing the RESPONDER will decide for their character whether to ‘fight back’ or ‘resist’ or ‘deny’ or ‘avoid’ the INSTIGATORS plans.


Are you as an actor prepared to NOT know which choice you are going to make until that moment?


Can you learn lines so that you can be entirely open as to how you will say them and what they will really mean until the moment they emerge from your mouth?


The EXCITING PROSPECT of this concept is that it makes the actor just like the character.  The actor has to make all the decisions about how to respond, choice-by-choice and moment-by-moment, the same way the character would. 


THAT’S THE ACTOR’S GOAL isn’t it? – “To place themselves at the beginning of the scene in the same position that the character is in so that they can go on and make the character’s decisions for them.”


It is perfect.


Are you prepared to take that risk?



April 2011

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