Archive for May, 2010
“To be or not to be, that is the question.”
In the art of real acting, Shakespeare was right on target, as Hamlet makes his famous speech.
This is because the essence of all acting is: To be.
If an actor “acts”, the audience becomes uncomfortable. They can innately feel that something is amiss, even if they are not schooled in the discipline of acting to be able articulate what is wrong.
But, isn’t acting all about ACTING?
Acting is never about “acting”, acting is about becoming.
Let me explain.
One cannot “act” old; one cannot “act” sad; one cannot “act” drunk, or worried, or angry, or in love– and so forth.
One has to become. If one can become old, or sad, or worried, within the realm of “acting”, then one has truly become an actor. Does this mean that one has to suddenly become 108 years old or very depressed? Of course not; what it means is that an actor needs to put on the skin of his character to understand and become that character from inside that skin, rather than trying to recreate the character from afar.
In one’s own life there are experiences of being young or afraid or silly and happy or innumerable expressions of emotions, challenges, and experience. A good actor learns to pull his personal experience inside the skin of his character’s circumstances and to portray a character as a real person. He “becomes.”
Does this mean that you have to become a serial killer to play one? Of course not. It means that if you have a challenging role with an unlovable character, the easiest way to make that character become real to an audience, is to bring forth your own experiences inside the circle of your character’s frame of reference. Then, and only then, can you play a believable Hannibal or MacBeth.
Or even a Jack Sparrow or a Hunchback of Notre Dame.
This skill also applies to the lighter-seeming characters. Sean Connery always said his hardest role was 007- but we always believed him.
Many people love music and want to be involved in it some how. Sometimes it is singing; or at other times, playing a musical instrument. Even wanting to dance is a form of music appreciation as the desire to move to music becomes strong and enticing. One of the hardest concepts for a great many people, just starting in music, is that wonderful world of rhythm. Most people can move naturally but when they begin to intellectualize it, rhythm becomes problematic. Yet rhythm is a natural as breathing in and out. In fact breathing in and out is rhythm! Your heartbeat is rhythm; rhythm is part of us.
In modern music, one of the ways to begin to understand rhythm is to simply move to it. Try walking in rhythm to a favorite song; clapping or snapping your fingers in time; these movements will give you a feel for the music that you are listening to.
One way to begin to understand the music and rhythms that you love, is to begin to recognize where the downbeat, or One is. That can sound strange to a lot of people. One? What in the heck is “One” and what do you mean by that?
One is the downbeat.
Still confused? In most modern music is easy to find. The average pop song is divided evenly into four beats; you can easily feel that as you clap or snap. Usually the strongest, or most prevalent of the four beats is the One. A fun experiment is to listen to your favorite song and clap, while yelling on the downbeat. The trick is to always know where that downbeat is.
You do not have to read music to discover how to find the downbeat in music; music is mostly about listening and feeling. Getting too intellectual about the subject before you are ready, usually ruins the experiment.
Just remember that rhythm is natural and is in and around all of us.