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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...

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Broadway's Dreamers: The Legacy of the Group Theatre



Just to review: anecdotal, memories, dreams, yes, and definitely not the whole story, but please also review my article in Backstage (link provided below) in comparison, noting in particular the brief remarks by Strasberg, Adler, Lewis, and the influence of Stanislavski, on their study.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Rep. Nydia Velazquez's Additional Lesson



Rep. Velazquez reminds the actor in this speech of the importance, the necessity, of finding the right words to convey the images/thoughts that are driving those words to make the person who listens to her see what she sees in her mind's eye.  Note the clarity of the words and her emphasis on words like troops, fight, kick, blood.  When the actor understands and is determined that her partner perceives her ideas, she won't smudge or contract the words of a sentence as do so many actors who are performing today.   Note as well the lesson here that emotion is derived from cognition - always!  The actor who reaches for an emotion or a "mood" is bound to deliver an indicated performance.

Monday, October 2, 2017

"Don't Open Your Mouth Until You Know What Image is Driving the Thought,"

is what I've said many times to actors.  I think it's very difficult to learn to practice this when the actor begins studying the text, mainly because the actor hasn't been taught that this is fundamental in order to prevent representational or indicated acting. 

It's interesting that Stanislavski and his colleagues, as well as the members of the Group Theatre intuited that thought precedes speech; not that other actors hadn't done so before them, but they addressed it in their practice and wrote about it.

Interestingly, in 2013, on YouTube, during the Q&A of a lecture by Professor of Linguistics, Noam Chomsky, titled "Grammar, Mind and Body - A Personal View," I heard him respond to a query as follows:  "Language is not communication.  Language is meaning with some kind of a thought system.  Language does not give us the full capacity, anywhere near the capacity, to express what we're thinking, feeling, hoping for.  There's an awful lot of thought that goes on that doesn't come out the mouth and probably can't.  You know you get it right by the effect it has."  I hope Professor Chomsky has been made aware that actors have much to learn from him.  He has said that among linguists he has his critics regarding how he defines language, but, whenever I read that quote to actors, a smiling recognition is communicated by their facial expression.

Consider Al Pacino's reminisce about Jobn Cazale in my December 20, 2016 post regarding Cazale's question to Lumet:  "Why do I say I'm not a homosexual?"  Or consider Simon Callow's remark to Charlie Rose in an interview a few yeares ago - that if he can think the thoughts of the character, he can play the character.  Yet, consistently, in numerous productions, I've observed many excellent experienced actors rely on some sort of instinct rather than technique and then deliver lines rather than thoughts, which causes not only indicated acting, but an abandonment of rising action, of progression.