NOTES ON ACTING, an intermittent journal about acting on stage and film, as well as in life.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Limitations = (Unexpected) Opportunity
As I struggle to make gains in marrying 'honesty' to 'theatricality' I feel some shame at not finding the theatrical forms easier to fill. My work on a monologue from Shylock is indicative. When I keep it 'small'--naturalistic--it reads well. When I press it to be more gesturally and vocally expansive, the honesty leaks out, and it ceases to read well. A friend of mine in Portland noted that on film my expressions are effective, rich with complicated thought and latent surprise, but not so much on stage. I'm very definitely learning the ways in which stage acting can be more demanding (for me) than on-camera acting, which is less forgiving about some things (e.g., the actor can NOT get away with out an internal action of SOME kind, or s/he looks like a zombie) and more about others (postural quirks, less-clear voice and diction). This may be just fine by me, because my interest in acting is much less in the performing than in the recreating. I think I enjoy the putting on of new and different 'behavior' more than I do putting on a 'show.' I'm not a funny wigs and walks kind of guy. This can still work on stage for me, in both classic and contemporary work, but it doesn't make me a "transformative" actor. Training is about creating transformative actors, though (at least, this training is), so I feel some shame about this. I frequently hear the note (especially from the voice coach) that I am a "quirky actor," which doesn't make me universally employable. Ah well. Hell, that's probably better. Don Alder would approve. Get a couple of drinks in him, and he has some choice words for "actrons."
There must be someplace on the continuum between Tom Wilkinson and Christopher Walken for me.