TEACH OUR CHILDREN WELL
I recently coached a young actor on some audition monologues. This particular actor doesn’t yet have all the skills which are traditionally lumped together to make a “good performance.” He is still green when it comes to crafting a monologue, he still gets ahead of his words and he hasn’t yet gained absolute control of his body. His voice is strong but raw, and his breath and his thoughts are not always in perfect harmony.
But, golly is it exciting to watch him act. All the aforementioned skills will come in time. I remember when I was his age I had a little better handle on my voice and body and craftsmanship, but I can assure you it was not nearly as exciting to watch me work. What he has already discovered, and what I have only recently started to fully embrace, is that the foundation to all good acting it is to hand it over to the character. He knows that his best work comes when he doesn’t concern himself with how he sounds or looks. His best work happens when he doesn’t try to show the audience what he is doing, but instead lets the character actually do it. He knows already the difference in his acting between what appears to be real and what is actually true. I think I would give up all my outwardly sharpened skills - my glossy diction and my adept sense of structure - if I could go back 10 years and ground my acting in truth first.
I was trained well. Despite the monumental efforts by my early teachers to make me understand that acting is greater than the sum of its parts, it’s taken me many years to grasp the intangible foundation that makes all acting worth watching. In retrospect I wish that I had found the foundation before the structure.