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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.

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