Archive | December 2010

acting, shakespeare and the power of text.

i often read about people asking about acting techniques… what one do i use, what’s the most important one, which is the most effective, and so on. naturally the answer is much like a preference of what colour shirt you put on in the morning. it’s not quite arbitrary, but it can be, or it can depend on what you feel suits you best for the day.

speaking to an acting friend of mine, we came to group three broad and different categories of acting methods.

1) that which focuses on sense memory, and emotional integrity
is what you’re feeling real? is the emotion real, or just something you’re putting on for show? using stanislavski’s sense memory, and recalling on experiences you’ve had in your own life to rediscover what’s happening for the character.

2) relationships. the relationship between you, and whoever, and whatever is in front of you. the emphasis on what is there RIGHT NOW. meisner often said all you need as an actor is right in front of you. staying in the moment, and having things change dynamically.

3) text. the words on the page. using each word, and really getting the potential meaning out of every possible way in which it can be presented. “no, i’m not okay”… the way you read this, differs from the next person. subtext can range from “of course i’m not fucking okay”, “i’m not okay but sally is great”, “i’m better than great i’m FANTASTIC!”…

now an actor can play around and use whatever they feel best suits them. it’s going to differ. but looking at them myself, i feel like most actors, i stick with a combination of the first and second choices. but then, thinking about the third one, i am reminded of a little anecdote i was told this past summer at steppenwolf. a wonderful shakespeare teacher (rob clare, look him up, he was part of the royal shakespeare company and knows shakespeare better most people know their ABC’s) was talking about a time when he was back in the UK as a young actor rooming with a professional violinist of the highest level.

as it goes, the violinist would be practising, for hours every day. however, despite having performed the particular piece of music hundreds of times, in rehearsals and in performance, when practising, they would only ever play 4-5 bars of it at a time. then they would go back, and play the same 4-5 bars again. and again. and again. and again. each a little differently. each time experimenting. and then after thoroughly exploring that little piece, they would move on. it would take hours to go through the whole piece, but finishing was never the point.

and it clicked with him then, that if a musician could do that with music, why not do that with words? after all, an actor’s instrument is himself (we’ve all heard this). so he went about shakespeare monologues, and pieces with the musician in mind, and the discoveries he made were tremendous. and when you think about the emphasis that is constantly placed on the literary genius of shakespeare, there are bound to be some gifts that can be missed if meticulous focus on the text is not used.

i think then as actors, shakespeare or not, when approaching acting techniques, the power of text really needs to be explored. one of the discoveries i made a long time ago was that when learning my part, i performed best, and had most room to explore when i knew the text absolutely WORD FOR WORD, and back to front. i could cook and recite the text, i could walk and talk and have my thoughts interrupted and do the text, etc. because then… you can throw it all away… as the saying goes.



they’re your handcuffs…

had a good friend of me ask me for advice on relationships and a recent break up they’d had.

first of all, he’s an idiot for coming to me knowing my history, but i’ll continue and you can all take it for face value. the way it was, my friend had been very unsure about what to do, where to go, and so on. it felt as though there was something holding him back.

and it occurred to me, that the only thing holding him back was some kind of invisible obligation for this and that to his ex. but the reason you break up (and it’s never pleasant) is to be free from exactly that… the fact of the matter is, a lot of people feel this way after they break up. they get so caught up in what just happened, they forget to try and appreciate what’s to come. then they end up sitting around swamped with all the negatives of having broken up, NONE of the positives, wondering why the hell they feel like trash.

then they naturally either begin second guessing a decision they laboured over, and in worse case scenarios going backwards to go forward. backwards is not the way forward people. don’t wonder about the handcuffs that you put on yourself.

anyway. what do i know?


a feeling better than acting.

or perhaps on par.

things have been slow lately to say the least. paperwork… so what else is new. so naturally it was getting to me, and while i wouldn’t say i was getting depressed, i was getting frustrated, impatient and upset.

looking for the answers, and looking for the solutions… i found them. it was as simple as getting away with the best friends i’ve ever had.

really. that simple.


mundine, a boxer you love to hate.

i’ve never been a huge boxing fan. while i’ve been something of a manny pacquiao fan of late, i’m not going to jump on the bandwagon, and act as though i’ve been following him from way back when. but i do enjoy a good fight, and sometimes there are people who you just want to see knocked out. normally because they talk too f**king much.

take anthony mundine for example. until last night, in every single fight, in every single promotion, he’s seemed to me to be a trash talking, arrogant and condescending tool. he gets you to the point where you just want to see him crushed in his next fight. but because he continually fights sub-par fighters, it never happens. it just fuels your desire to seem him fall even more. but be that as it may, everyone ends up having an opinion, and everyone ends up turning out to see the fight. in the end, the guy is a supreme athelete, and what he’s done with his career is admirable.

so this morning when i read the headline that anthony “the man” mundine had been knocked out, i hurried along to see the highlights, as well as the pre-match interviews and such. but the trash talking boxer was no where to be seen. when asked if he would stop his oppoenent garth wood early, instead of barrelling the cmaera with no smile and a straight face saying “i’m the man, i’m the best, i’mma show y’all dat”… he laughed and had a joke with the reporter, saying something along the lines of “ah we’ll see, i could, but i may just beat him down, shut him down late, you know”… wtf.

so i watch the highlights of the fight, and while it’s a scrappy encounter, mundine takes a left to the temple (ow). and is knocked out for the first time in some 17 fights. then AFTER the fight, there are no excuses, no trash talking, just full credit to the young boxer who made the most of his opportunity, and a resolute promise to work at his game and drawing board, then go back to the ring, signing off with a full congratulations to garth.

i’ve always heard rumours that his attitude is just for show, and that he’s really not like that in real life. i don’t know what i believe. but now that he’s been beaten… i think i prefer it when he’s just a dick.


ps – floyd mayweather on the other hand is a massive tool that needs to step up to the plate, stop making excuses and protecting his record, cease the throwing of faeces and fight manny pacquiao… and STFU. seriously.

i don’t like mice.

so those of you who don’t know, there’s i have a new room mate. he’s about an inch tall, two inches long, and runs at a little over the speed of sound. he has the skills and reflexes of a fucking jedi, and after my multiple botched attempts to catch him in a civil manner with bait ranging from cheese and ham, to airhead sour candy, he most likely eats better than i do. i’ve affectionately named him jerry. i want to say before i go any further, i’m not one of THOSE people. when i see spiders, bugs, mice and small children in their natural environment, i don’t go out of my way to kill them. but come into my house? you dead.

i think what pisses me off the most though, is that from a distance (that he knows i can’t leap at him from) he crawls around my apartment in a very chill manner. he’s having a great fucking time. and then later on when he’s gone, i find myself poking my head around the kitchen, and wandering around as if im in HIS apartment. last i checked it’s my name on the fucking lease BUDDY.

and so, after pondering how best to solve my problem. i went to the 99c store and looked at the arsenal of options they have available to me. i thought about rat poison, but that’d just leave me with a rotting corpse somewhere in my apartment. i’ve heard of those box traps where you can release them humanely back a few miles away from your apartment alive and well. but i’ve settled on two tried and tested methods. here’s one of my favourites.

ahhh good old prampas de pegamento.

i just liked the drawing really. he’s having such a bad day.

either way though, as i was coming up with ways to bring about my friend jerry’s demise, someone appealed to my sense of christmas spirit. what about CHRISTMAS?

merry fucking xmas.