ACTING TIPS GENERAL
DARK THOUGHTS FOR DARK WORDS
Have you noticed that mostly when an actor gets a line such as …
“I don’t feel good about this.”
“I’m the husband of a dead wife.” (or any line that mentions death)
… the outcome is that they act ‘solemnly’.
In audition rooms around the world the vast majority of actors make the same choices with those kinds of lines. Why, I ask???
I reckon, its often because actors who see their job as connecting to the character’s feelings clearly can see the opportunity to reveal feelings with lines like this.
Maybe its because actors who are specialists at analyzing the text believe that the writer has made their intentions plain by using such words. It’s a solemn subject so one must act accordingly.
Or could it be that buried in the every actor’s sub-conscious is the belief that words should be ‘evocative’.
Perhaps there is a universal politeness about treating such serious issues appropriately.
Whether I’m right or not about the reasons the outcome is invariably the same.
If you want to be different from everyone else at an audition have a serious think about this. There wont be too many other actors who do. Most of them will do the obvious.
Make sure you assess …
Why you are saying the line?
What effect you want it to have on the person you are speaking to?
What the relationship is?
What the circumstances of this conversation are?
Don’t let one word change the context of everything.
Think about whether it is at all possible to go about such a line … ironically, bemusedly, disbelievingly or sharingly. The lighter you can make the colours the greater the complexity and the greater the drama. PLUS you will stand out because you aren’t doing the bleedin’ obvious.
In July 2012 a new FASCINATING explanation for why actors frequently make the same choices was found in psychologist DANIEL KAHNEMAN’S book “Thinking, fast and slow”. You can find the article “The Halo Effect” in The Rehearsal Room Blog of 10th July 2012..
WARM THOUGHTS FOR WARM WORDS
Of course the opposite is true, too. Last week I noticed that most often when women have lines about 'love' or 'babies' then actors frequently use soft, warm and romantic colours, no matter what the circumstances. BEWARE!!
In a scene where a man was declaring very positively the value he placed in the relationship and his belief in the woman's special qualities - the performance response from the actor was to respond positively and romantically. And that doesn't seem unreasonable, does it? But the fact that the man was married, had no intention of changing those circumstances and had probably being spouting stuff like this to this woman for a number of years, was never considered as a factor in the response. So, it is equally likely that at this point she's feeling anything but romantic. She could have been indignant and very PISSED.
It's the circumstances and the relationship that most frequently determine the nature of the conversation. Just because the words have a romantic flavour doesn't mean that the delivery should. Keep your mind open for the options.
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR MIND OPEN? Once you have decided on the approach to the scene SERIOUSLY CONSIDER the opposite possibility. That will get you thinking outside the box.
I marvel at what a significant factor it is. The more relaxed the actor is the more real and complex the performance. On its own it doesn’t do much BUT add one simple, active ingredient and then RELAXATION adds a LOT to the outcome. The first night of the Introductory Workshop always reminds me how significant RELAXATION is. We had fun, too.
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