Off-Cut Twenty One

From a newsletter in October 2000

All right! All right!

I know they have grey hair.

And sure, I have one or two grey hairs myself.

But I'm a fan of JUDI DENCH and have been for thirty-five years. As an actor she has always had an astounding ability to be openly, honestly and simply committed to the moment. "As Time Goes By" (ABC-TV 8.00pm Monday) is worth watching for JUDI DENCH alone. GEOFFREY PALLMER is also excellent.

On the evidence of Monday night's episode (9th October 2000) these two performers are always immediately responding to the impulse of the moment or taking their time to find the thought that will generate the impulse to say a line. Numerous delightful 'moments of surprise' emerge in every scene - and these incidentally are the genesis of many of the laughs.

JUDI DENCH and GEOFFREY PALLMER maintain an impressive unbroken momentum of continuous "need" and thought process - no matter what element of plot they are manipulating.

This is good "interacting" at its best.

October 2000

And then this follow up was from 28th October 2000

Oh, Well.....!!

After my enthusiastic praise of JUDI DENCH in my last epistle the second episode of "As Time Goes By" (ABC-TV 8.00pm Monday) was very disappointing. Clearly displayed were all the predictable inadequacies of British television sit-coms. JUDI DENCH had such a small part to play in this episode it was difficult to observe any detail in her performance - consequently I have not been back to check it out since.

It just goes to show that actors' efforts are at the mercy of many elements. Directors and scripts are the main external forces to be counteracted however schedules, lack of rehearsal and other actors can all contribute to diminishing the end result of an individual's performance. (In television the editing, shot selection and reducing an episode to its prescribed duration can also take a toll)

The individual actor has little control over these external forces. All you can do is to put your process truthfully in place and trust the other forces don't work against you. Any attempt to anticipate or counteract potential problems or choices will always be disastrous for it can only introduce false elements into the actor's process - and if that is the case the actor will carry responsibility for the end result. It is in your power to ignore all that is irrelevant to the character's need.

So, don't be tricked.

October 2000


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