9.07.2006

ain't blogged squat

Hi. i feel like a stranger.

i've felt like writing a couple of things on here lately, but they were all doom and gloom: ohhhh, we're outta fossil fuels!, ohhh, we waste our food! ohhh, etc....
i didn't want my return to the blog to be so predictable, so here's something-- neither gloomy nor doomy-- that i've had on my mind here lately:

energy level/charisma as it pertains to onstage/in class performance. (teaching is a kind of performance i figure...)

i like the concept of acting. You know, like an actor. Like on a stage and stuff. If thinking about acting can make a great actor, then i'm there, dude. (but believe me, i can't act my way out of a bag.) Alright. So everyone's heard of Stanislavski's (or Strasburg's) The Method, right? Brando is a famous method actor. The (wildly reductivist) point is to conjure up your own emotional equivalent of your character's and put that feeling into your performance.

Well, i always thought that was a really cool approach until i heard a British actor talking about his acting one time--and british acting is some of my favorite. Evidently the brits don't really cotton to The Method. This actor's point (and i've forgotten who it was) was that you just can't trust to always pulling up that emotion when you're on stage (and as we all know its all about the stage. movies are for acting lightweights). His take was that acting is a rehearsed action. You figure out what it looks like, and then you do it over and over again.

Okay. Here's where i come in. I'm un-intentionally something of a method guy. I adhere to the blues school of performance: i depend on whatever is driving me at the moment to provide a performance's energy. The problem with this, of course, comes when things aren't going well. If i'm sleepy when i get to class--like i was yesterday--then class is sleepy. If i'm at a show and am playing badly, then i crinkle up into a little ball and wish i was somewhere else. The benefit, on the other hand, is that quite often you turn in a truly inspired bit of playing, singing, teaching.

The method vs. british argument in this is that brit acting gives you a predictable and normally postive result. The method says that no matter how good you get at the rehearsed response you end up with something that, at its core, will ring hollow.

In my intuitive criss-crossy world, i can even quantify these differences in terms of marxism, or white and black culture, or east meets west....but, you know, i'm gonna spare you that for now. Here's the question: Would you rather have a steady diet of Wayne Newton or, say...Bob Dylan, with his unpredictable ways, night after night?

3 comments:

The Mom said...

So...are those the only two choices? Because I wouldn't want a steady diet of either of those artists, though there are probably elements of both I could admire. Good question. Where does Frank Sinatra (earlier years, not late!) or Andy Williams fit in there? Or Ella Fitzgerald or Sarah Vaughan or Peggy Lee? Not fair, I know...they may not be your genre of choice.

Glad to see you bloggin' again, though. We think about you guys a lot, and hope all is going well for you as you settle into "what is" for you now.

Alison said...

Go, mom, for bringing in a few women artists of color. Down with the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy!

I think I adhere to a modified British school version of performance. What I find is that often, if I act like I'm excited in class, I'll become excited. Or I'll generate an excitement in my students that I can feed off of. Acting my way into right thinking/feeling, I guess.

Kevin Linder said...

Actually those aren't the only choices. As with everything in life, there are often TOO many choices. Or the other choices are there but just have to be searched for.

Personally I studied the "method" technique but never really accepted it. Another method exists that I found out about and found it helped my acting quite a bit.

I learned the Meisner technique. This technique was created and refined by Sanford Meisner.

His teachings differ in the theory that the focus should be on your partner or the person you are acting across. It is other people that affect you and thus taint how you act and respond. If you think about it, this is how real life is.

Lines are lines. From the other techniques, you have to deliver the lines a certain way. Not with Mesiner. You say the lines through how you feel based on how your acting partner is making you feel with their behavior. Are they yelling at you, whispering to you or speaking to you as if your a child. Each one of those will make you feel a certain way and from THAT you will then deliver your lines. Which your acting partner will then feel something from YOUR behavior and do the same. This happens back and forth until the play ends.

Often what results are plays that are not quite the same with each showing but are "honest" because the actor is dealing with what is actually happening on stage...not with what they believe is suppose to be happening because a script says so.

Hope that helps!