Friday, March 27, 2009

On Acting

What a ridiculous profession, acting is! Honestly, when you think about it, it's totally unnatural. More like a genetic disorder, really. I mean, people get paid to stand up in front of a group of people (all of whom have usually paid and want to be there) and they pretend to be people they're not, telling a story that is usually completely untrue. And here's the kicker: by buying your ticket and paying to see me pretend to be someone else, you are also agreeing to believe me as I lie to you for two or more hours. And worse yet, we're both happy because of it. What? What the hell kind of B.S. contract is that?

But it's been that way for millenia. The first recorded professional actors were ancient Greeks taking part in religious ritual plays to please the gods (a phenomena we still see in modern Passion Plays and religious theme parks). When the poets got hold of playwrighting, everything changed and it became about much more than just honoring the gods, but in telling great stories. And it's been that way ever since.

Actors have been both praised and reviled throughout history and it was only in the early 20th Century that it started to become a respectable (if not still suspect) profession. There are dozens of styles of acting. There's classical British acting, "method" acting (after the Stanislavsky Method). There are those who use the techniques of more modern teachers like Strassberg and Meisner. Personally, I'm what some people call a "combination actor." I take bits from here and bits from there (sometimes more from one than another, depending on the play) and use all them together. I've been lucky enough to include both ancient, classical and modern theatre styles on my resume. and find myself a more well-rounded performer for it. And a better director.

Sunday, I am taking part in another Directors' Panel at my Alma Mater. The last one in which I took part was about scene analysis. This time we're doing an audition and headshot seminar, advising student actors on improving their audition skills and getting the best results from a photo shoot. I love working with young actors, because they aren't afraid to take risks on stage and stretch and play parts they might not otherwise have gotten to play. I'll be holding my own auditions in a few weeks, so Sunday morning may well prove educational for me, as well.

You're bored, I can tell. More on movies in my next post, I promise. And maybe even a "The Gayest Thing You'll See" post. They're secretly my favorites.

More, anon.

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