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Let's End the Specious Argument of Beloved Dead Masters

In particular, let's end the "argument" between Adler and Strasberg.  There is no substance to their false reasoning upon whi...

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Jon Stewart/Behavior/Images/Emotion


When you watched him today, did you also remind yourself that you were watching another example of the action/need to make your listener(s) see what you see in your mind's eye and that it comes from your body?  Did you notice that each sentence conveyed an idea and that emotion was produced from that idea?  As well, here was another example of what happens when the clarity of the images/ideas profoundly affects its listener(s) -- the quality of their silence -- the stillness of their collective attention.

I think that the actor's task is to reach for this kind of concentrated reality, regardless of the genre of the drama.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Michelle Williams - Active Listening/Processing - Examples

  In a previous post, Character's Need, Listening Processing, dated 1/26/19, I discussed two scenes from True Detective in which the same sentence, "I'm sorry," was performed correctly by one actor and incorrectly by another actor.  Here, in two scenes from Take This Waltz, Michelle Williams and Luke Kirby accomplish correct playing of the action/need and the processing of active listening.


And in the hospital scene from Fosse/Verdon, Ms. Williams again accomplished detailed progression of thought processes that were evoked by the images created by her partner.  I purposely allowed the clip to bleed into the following scene because I wanted to draw attention to how the progression of the impact the idea of her partner's words deepened as she thought about what was said to her.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

The Theatre of the Mind - Oliver Sacks: The Bonnet Syndrome

AHHH, affective memory, substitution, imagination, Stanislavski, Vakhtangov, Adler, Hagen, Lewis, Meisner, Strasberg.  From Stella Adler's remark that we never forget anything that has happened to us, to contemporary psychologists whose data and experiments corroborate that remark, suggesting that in order to function in the present, we suppress unrelated memories, to Uta Hagen's anecdote in Uta Hagen's Acting Class, that although she never knew why, how, while rehearsing Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, her memory from childhood of a vine on a wall, and a singular leaf on that vine worked for an action for the role of Martha, here's Oliver Sacks' discussion of The Bonnet Syndrome.

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Audition Handicap -- Continued

Please read "Should You Bring Props to an Audition?" from the Backstage article of May 9 and 10, 2019 linked below.

I think, per the drawing, that if the CD assigned that particular scene for the audition, the bigger the dead fish the actor brings, the better, and if the fish is still alive, better still.

The CD must know, as well as the director, the actor's challenge in an audition and assign an appropriate scene that will not require props or at most, a hand prop.  Further, a demo reel or any scene that has a dramatic build should suffice for the CD to be able to assess the actor's ability, at the very least, to determine the need for a callback.


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The Handicap of the Taped Audition

When did the disembodied talking heads that pervade TV acting performances become a description of human behavior?  It's so pervasive that it has crept into film performances as well.  Is this inaccurate interpretation of human behavior what has influenced the handicap of the taped audition?

Taped audition "rules" are ridiculous and casting directors should know better.  Instead of asking actors to present an unfinished rehearsal from three-page sides, casting directors would find out more about actors if they asked them to just face the camera and extemporaneously relate something about themselves. 

Actors must be able to use their body in performance.  The best taped audition I've seen that confined itself to some of those arbitrary rules was Rachel McAdams' audition for The Notebook.  Notice that aside from articulately playing her action, she worked from her body and listened/processed the ideas of her partner.

If you're called upon to present a taped audition, follow her example as the criterion that defines ground zero.  

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Diversity, Talent, Technique, Opportunity and Samuel L. Jackson-6/16/17 Redux

Photo by Lola Cohen

Regarding Educational Theatre's statistic below, I now offer free one-on-one audition preparation and scene study to anyone who is not enrolled in a college or university Performing Arts program or a studio because they can't afford the tuition.  All sessions will be conducted and recorded on Skype and then viewed on my YouTube channel.  The only requirement will be a willingness to practice and be egoless enough to let viewers observe their progress as they master the technique that's derived from Constantin Stanislavski and the Group Theatre.
Please contact: actingtechnique@gmail.com for further information.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Dramatic Progression / Exposition - All My Sons

On 2/26/18 I wrote about dramatic progression and exposition and the challenge the actor faces when expository dialogue is sometimes narratively written as it was in Silver Linings Playbook.  I've sometimes told actors that the best example I could think of where the writer wrote exposition dramatically is Arthur Miller's 1947 play, All My Sons.

I'm so pleased that now, in 2019, the play will be performed in New York and that when it closes, it will be able to be viewed at the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts.