Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Actor's Challenge: Becoming the Scene

Do you find yourself getting caught up in posture, set, relationship, voice and setting?  This can be a daunting challenge, because all the aspects are quite important to portraying the story.  

Really, the only scene the actor needs to be concerned with in their performance, is the real human interaction between themselves and the other actors.  When this exchange feels real, it successfully produces the illusion of the character for both the performance and the audition.

Concerns with the scene, and how to play the scene, and how the scene should be played, are the concerns of those with misdirected focus.  How do you know how a scene should be played? Because you have read it like an audience member sees a performance and created a version of the play in performance in your imagination, which you then attempt to match in real life.

The real scene is made up of yourself, other performers, and the interaction created between you. I’m not telling you it's as simple as ‘just be yourself’.  I am telling you that once you analyze and understand the scenes in terms of action, then you will truly begun to meet your responsibilities to the author and their creation.

If you bring the right task to the scene, embodied through the right posture and actions (tactics), then you begin to bring the scene to life.

If someone were to ask ‘how do i play a psychopath?’, they would be misunderstanding the nature of acting. It is not to 'play' the psychopath, but to transform the action of the page into a real world interaction with the others you are performing with.  If your character is a psychopath, the important parts of that trait will make their way into the scene via the writer.  

First, study, get to know and fully understand the scene. Then relay the action of the scene into a real world interaction, while committing to that interaction with your whole heart and soul until the audience finally sees the illusion of the character as a reality before them. 

At the end of the day though, the only scene you must concern yourself with, when it comes to making it really count, is the exchange between you and the other actor. When truth of that exchange is portrayed with genuine intention, your performance will prove more honest and more believable than any fictional let's-play-pretend moments you could possibly wish into existence.

Our goal is to help you succeed.  For more information or to see our class offerings, visit us at the New York Acting School for Film and Television.

We look forward to hearing from you!

-Navae Fiona

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