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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...

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tom Stoppard - Ideas from the Actor's Collaborator




Aside from discussing the writer's work, Mr. Stoppard discusses aspects of the collaboration between the writer and the actor.

 I emphasis to actors their need to hold the dialogue of every script sacred; every word in every sentence sacred -- to not paraphrase, add or substitute words regardless of how mediocre the actor thinks the dialogue is.  The story is not about you.  The execution of telling the story is about how what the writer has written resonates for you so that the character you create is the third party to your collaboration with the writer, and as I've mentioned earlier, the final collaborator is the audience, and not necessarily every member of the audience, as Mr. Stoppard comments here.

The actor limits himself and chokes his ability to create a unique human being when he tries to tailor the written sentences to himself.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Tennessee Williams and James Grissom

James Grissom has made an enormous contribution with his book, Follies of God - Tennessee Williams and the Women of the Fog.  To me, it seems a "must read" for actors, directors, writers.

Since this is a blog about acting technique, here's a quote from the book:

     "Tenn had believed that actors were incapable of thought in their acting, that perhaps they were discouraged from displaying this action in their work.  American actors, he felt, demonstrated, indicated, spoke, moved, and all intentions, all motivations, all desires had been worked out prior to performance -- in study with an acting coach, perhaps, or in discussions with a therapist.  Nothing, however, appeared to Tenn to happen in real time in that shared space.  This began to change for him with [Laurette] Taylor in The Glass Menagerie, where one saw a woman range from deliquescence to giddiness to machination to panicked improvisation in a matter of minutes.  It happened again with Brando in Streetcar -- a human being caught in all the gaudy abundance of his being. 'Marlon never did anything physical twice,' Tenn told me.  'He let his body sweat and move as nature chose on that stage, and he hitched or removed his shirt accordingly.  He scratched where it itched, in that time, in that moment.  He wiped real sweat off of his brow in real time, regardless of where he was in the script.  He dragged life and thought onto that stage.'
     No one, however, in Tenn's estimation, brought the process of thought and intention to the stage as Geraldine Page did."

The impression Page made on Tennessee Williams and later on James Grissom creates, along with her work, a portrait of Geraldine Page that is for the reader and viewer to absorb.  

Here's my anecdotal addition:  When I met Ms. Page, in wanting to connect with her somehow, I said, "What you and I have in common is Uta Hagen."  To which she replied, "Ahh, Uta!  I took everything she taught me and turned it into cash!"  I don't remember her putting her hand to her mouth as Mr. Grissom has described, although I'm familiar with that characteristic gesture, but it seems to me that I can still hear her high-pitched giggle after she said that.