Monday, May 24, 2010

Speak the Speech I Pray You

I have been told several times in acting classes to "let the text drive you" or something to that affect.

Do not fight so hard to make what you are saying mean something. The playwright has spent countless hours putting together this script. If he/she is a good playwright, the words will have their own rhythm and the script will be filled with actions and objectives. It is the job of the actor to find this ebbing and flowing of the language, find the actions and objectives, and then forget them. Forget the homework, don't show your teacher how good you are at using actions and just ride. Let your existence as the character float like a canoe on the currents of the text, pushing you towards your objective. Do not try so hard to manipulate the words. Allow the text to do the what it is meant to do. The text will make it easier to exist in the scene, to breath and feel, to achieve your objective.

That's what good acting is. And so much more. Of course.

But I had a realization today. This applies just as much, if not more so, to musical theatre acting. (I use that term liberally for, in reality, there is no difference between musical theatre acting and straight acting. They are all founded in the same things.) In musical theatre there is an added element to aide in the storytelling: the music. I realized today (and I can't believe I never thought of it before!) that when doing a song I should let myself ride the current that the music takes me on. Just as the text is a vehicle for straight acting so is the music for musical theatre. It is an added tool that the actor is given and should make acting easier.

I made this realization today when I was singing a song and let myself ride on the music and the text. The affect was definite. By allowing myself to ease into the song and use what the brilliant composers and lyricist had given me I was able to achieve more than I would have otherwise. I didn't need to push and try and show how hard I was working to act. Tension is not necessary. It is detrimental. Acting should be easy. Like breathing. Just. Existing.


Derek D said...

Oh Ana. You make me smile haha your realization is so profound..and shows how amazing you are!

Btw..let me know when you have a show or something because I totally want to go!! I'm still upset I mis

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