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

Monday, January 21, 2019

Glenn Close - Not a "Method" Actor?

It was a pleasure to watch Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce perform such an articulate duet in The Wife; exquisite counterpoint and harmony; musical terms, yes, but that's what their work reminded me of.

In her January 21, 2019 interview in The Guardian, Ms. Close discussed that film and some of her other performances.  In her remarks about the character Joan in The Wife, she mentioned her mother:  “I didn’t channel her. Although of course I had seen her taking the back seat to my father my whole life, so it was in my DNA. I had a well of subliminal experience to draw on.” Regarding the character's ideas, POV:  "It's not that they hadn’t been expressed before, but I guess they resonate in this moment. For that whole generation, pre-feminism, that’s the way it was. That was the norm. It’s caused me to look back at my two grandmothers, who were basically unfulfilled women. One had this beautiful singing voice and she wasn’t allowed to pursue that. My other grandmother, whose wedding ring I’m wearing throughout this awards season, dreamed of being an actress.”  She then revealed that it was this latter grandmother who inspired her 1982 performance of Jenny Fields in The World According to Garp.

Further in the interview, Ms. Close remarked, "I'm so glad to do what I do because even though I’m not a method actor and I don’t use my life in my acting, my work is still a progression."

I hope that my students and readers can easily recognize the continuing confusion that Adler and Strasberg initiated and that is dogmatically followed by their disciples so that even a seasoned, talented actor will contradict herself, in one conversation!

Reminder:  The word "Method" was coined by Strasberg.  Stanislavsky referred to it as a "System."  To conflate Strasberg's POV with Stanislavsky's POV is incorrect.  And to differentiate between substitution/affective memory and imagination?  Still?  Ms. Close didn't live the life of her mother or her grandmothers, but weren't their lives carved into her lived experience?  Her grandma's wedding ring answers that question.

BTW, in this interview Ms. Close addressed an aspect of my discussion regarding Amy Adams's error in Sharp Objects when she discussed her role in Fatal Attraction.  She said, “I had so many secrets as Alex.  The woman I was playing was not the same one who was perceived by the public. But I didn’t have the dialogue or the scenes to illuminate her backstory (my italics).  If you did Fatal Attraction from Alex’s point of view, she would be a tragic person, not a dangerous, evil one.” Ms. Close, in her performance in Fatal Attraction correctly played the actions/needs of the character, cognizant of the character's inner life, which she referred to here as Alex's secrets.

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