acting I *
Having talent is like having blue eyes. You don't admire a man for the colour of his eyes. I admire a man for what he does with his talent. - Michael Caine Stanislavsky says and I say -- if I want to know the play, I read the text at home. I come to SEE performance, subtext... The new "stage texts"! The theatre!

If an actor can find the personal rhythm of a character, he's home free. And one of the best ways to do that is to follow a person down the street, unbeknownst to him. Pick up his walk, imitate it and continue it, even after he's out of sight. As you're doing it, observe what's happening to you. By zeroing in on a guy's personal rhythm, you'll find that you've become a different person. Dustin Hoffman

If you do not know the difference between Role and Character, you are not actor yet. Role is YOUR text, performance, you write, using the chaqracter (dramatic text).


I keep working on The Book of Spectator and theory asks to rethink what we call "text": if indeed we believe that the final text is the spectator's experience (semiotics), we should consider acting as a pre-text... and dramatic texts as pre-pretexts!


What is the difference between CHARACTER and ROLE?


THE PRACTITIONERS: The Actor * The Playwright * Designers and Technicians * The Director * The Critic Chaper 3. Stanislavsky's Legacy (47) "It is not theatre that is indispensable, but something quite different. To cross the frontiers between you and me." Jerzy Grotowski

To the Actor: On the Technique of Acting by Michael Chekhov, Nicolai Remisoff; Harper & Row, 1953 - Chapter 1: The Actor's Body and Psychology - Chapter 2: Imagination and Incorporation of Images - Chapter 3: Improvisation and Ensemble - Chapter 4: The Atmosphere and Individual Feelings - Chapter 5: The Psychological Gesture - Chapter 6: Character and Characterization - Chapter 7: Creative Individuality - Chapter 8: Composition of the Performance - Chapter 9: Different Types of Performances - Chapter 10 How to Approach the Part


Acting II: Role

Lesson 5:
Lesson 6:
Lesson 7:
Lesson 8:

This what you, actor, "write" on stage!

Actor's Text = Performance

From Dramatic Text to Performance Languages: I like the challenge of conveying an emotion or idea that isn't right there in the dialogue. I like to be able to say, "I think I'll have a drink," and the audience know that what I mean is "I love you." Mel Gibson.

The difference (and conflict) between what your character says and thinks is expressed through what you DO -- we call it "subtext"!

You have to have both -- task and obstacle (chapter 1 & 2 in "5 Approaches to Acting")

Kaplan: "A rehearsal process need not be a savage removal of bad choices, but a steady build-up of good and better choices." (42)
The files on Performance will be @

Organizing a Text for Its Tasks = Organizing a Text for Its Obstacles [ Kaplan's (5 Approaches to Acting) analogy of oil painting: the illusion of depth, layer by layer ]


Now you have to overcome the (words) text -- the text must be behind, not in front of you!

Use monologues to define your tasks (objectives) and obstacles (write in your Actors's Text and your Journal's analysis of the characters. We can't move to SCENE STUDY without each actor understranding his homework!

Next: Part III -- Actor
[ The Cherry Orchard, Chekhov, female, Act III ]
LUBOV. What truth? You see where truth is, and where untruth is, but I seem to have lost my sight and see nothing. You boldly settle all important questions, but tell me, dear, isn't it because you're young, because you haven't had time to suffer till you settled a single one of your questions? You boldly look forward, isn't it because you cannot foresee or expect anything terrible, because so far life has been hidden from your young eyes? You are bolder, more honest, deeper than we are, but think only, be just a little magnanimous, and have mercy on me. I was born here, my father and mother lived here, my grandfather too, I love this house. I couldn't understand my life without that cherry orchard, and if it really must be sold, sell me with it! [Embraces TROFIMOV, kisses his forehead]. My son was drowned here. . . . [Weeps] Have pity on me, good, kind man.

Define her conflict:

Simposia, Discussion, Feedback

"Actors have to have a fundamental ability to be in permanent dialogue with their imaginations, so that when they utter forth something, people hear them." Fiona Shaw
Dionysos: Finally, now we are talking about acting!

Apollo: But the drama (words) are still the blueprint for actors!

Meyerhold: Literature is nothing but a "material"!

Stanislavsky: History of theatre is the history of great drama!

* new: and *
The "Iceberg" Model (character = role = actor) [ more @ ]

"Above" (line) -- what we see.

"Below" -- what actor should see (9/10): Actor's Text

How many levels are under water? As many as possible. We "guess" the depth, we "read" into it (imagination). "Actor directs".

The last levels even a performer can only "guess" in his own soul... (see Freud Page)

Also, Shaman Page... Stanislavsky: "One must give actors various paths. One of these is the path of action. There is also another path: you can move from feeling to action, arousing feeling first." (49)

Two basic schools of thought that actually merge -- most actors will use a combination of both: Method (Internal) vs. Techniques (External)

Performance Page: improvisation * method * technique * internal approach * external approach * subtext (371) * substitution * emotional, sense, affective memory

Counter-point (Meyerhold) = "playing against text" (conflict between between words and movement create the third meaning). Eisenstein calls "dialictics" (montage theory): thesis + antithesis > synthesis...

Verbal and visual messages are the basis of the subtext.

Here is the "pyramid" of levels, which could be expressed differently and produce "rich" message.

What is the function of "dialogue" (literary text)? "Performance text" is born out of the combination of messages.


[ ... ]

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tests *

WWWilde, Acting I Showcase
Kaplan: "Freud's theories of repression seemed especially applicable to an actor's craft, and removing repression from an actor's subconscious seemed an abvious way to expend the emotional range of performing artists." (52) -- more in "The System" or "Method"? (55) What's the difference? See Kaplan.
Helen Hayes: "Acting talent is an alert awareness of other people."
The Possessed 2003 (read the novel)
Application in Film (56) [ how to move from Method to Epic Theatre and Biomechanics? ] DOOLITTLE. It aint the lecturing I mind. I'll lecture them blue in the face, I will, and not turn a hair. It's making a gentleman of me that I object to. Who asked him to make a gentleman of me? I was happy. I was free. I touched pretty nigh everybody for money when I wanted it, same as I touched you, Henry Higgins. Now I am worrited; tied neck and heels; and everybody touches me for money. It's a fine thing for you, says my solicitor. Is it? says I. You mean it's a good thing for you, I says. When I was a poor man and had a solicitor once when they found a pram in the dust cart, he got me off, and got shut of me and got me shut of him as quick as he could. Same with the doctors: used to shove me out of the hospital before I could hardly stand on my legs, and nothing to pay. Now they finds out that I'm not a healthy man and cant live unless they looks after me twice a day. In the house I'm not let do a hand's turn for myself: somebody else must do it and touch me for it. A year ago I hadnt a relative in the world except two or three that wouldnt speak to me. Now Ive fifty, and not a decent week's wages among the lot of them. I have to live for others and not for myself: thats middle class morality. You talk of losing Eliza. Dont you be anxious: I bet shes on my doorstep by this: she that could support herself easy by selling flowers if I wasnt respectable. And the next one to touch me will be you, Henry Higgins. I'll have to learn to speak middle class language from you, instead of speaking proper English. Thats where youll come in; and I daresay thats what you done it for.

... DOOLITTLE: [softening his manner in deference to her sex] Thats the tragedy of it, maam. It's easy to say chuck it; but I havent the nerve. Which of us has? We're all intimidated. Intimidated, maam: thats what we are. What is there for me if I chuck it but the workhouse in my old age? I have to dye my hair already to keep my job as a dustman. If I was one of the deserving poor, and had put by a bit, I could chuck it; but then why should I, acause the deserving poor might as well be millionaires for all the happiness they ever has. They dont know what happiness is. But I, as one of the undeserving poor, have nothing between me and the pauper's uniform but this here blasted three thousand a year that shoves me into the middle class. (Excuse the expression, maam: youd use it yourself if you had my provocation). Theyve got you every way you turn: it's a choice between the Skilly of the workhouse and the Char Bydis of the middle class; and I havnt the nerve for the workhouse. Intimidated: thats what I am. Broke. Bought up. Happier men than me will call for my dust, and touch me for their tip; and I'll look on helpless, and envy them. And thats what your son has brought me to. [He is overcome by emotion].
[ Pygmalion, Act V ]





Body Movement:


Speech Pattern:


Social and Psychological Traits:

Place of birth:
Living Style:

How is the character like you?

How is the character unlike you?

Intellectual/emotional Optimist/pessimist Strong/weak Active/passive