Monday, August 30, 2010

The basics.

A group of NTI alums in New York recently formed a collective, and they offer acting classes taught by NTI teachers. I'm on their email list, and reading about these classes makes me wish I lived in NYC. Except, you know, that it's cold, expensive, and eats little starry-eyed artsy types like me for dinner...

Anyway, in his description of an upcoming class, Michael Cadman said something that resonated with me:

I am most concerned to make opportunities for the students to overcome what seems to be a major obstacle in much of their acting: themselves. Without ridding ourselves of the need to be constantly monitoring our work, constantly worrying about what others might be thinking of us, we cannot hope to stay in the moment and be truly and freely reactive. I think we all recognize this, both from what we've read about acting and from frustration in our own experience. Until we have felt the power of simply listening and responding and realized the beautiful simplicity of it; until we have let go and trusted ourselves in the hands of our creative partners, be it writers, directors or most importantly our fellow actors; until we have sort of discovered it for ourselves, it is difficult maybe to believe this power even exists.

The pressure to come up with a clever way of delivering a line can be so distracting. It's easy to see when an actor is doing this, and it usually falls flat. Truly listening to the other actor(s), and responding to their offerings, is more powerful. I've seen actors come up with something funny in one rehearsal or performance, and then refuse to let go of that choice even as it continually fails to work as well as it did the first time. The thing is, theater is live. A play is a living thing. It's never exactly the same show twice. That's why the great choice you made last night may not be the right choice tonight.

The concepts Cadman describes are so simple, but so easy to overlook, especially in the high-pressure settings of audition and performance. Since I can't travel to NYC every week to take this class, I've been trying to apply these concepts to my own work here at home.

(Another cool thing about NYC is that I hear there's a ton of vegan food options there. Like, say, if a vegan found herself craving donuts, I bet she could find them in NYC. If said vegan lives in New Orleans, she has to make her own vegan donuts.)

No comments:

Post a Comment