QUOTE: –“The words of a script are communicating specific things, and you must be openly receptive to the impulses that the words should arouse. The actions exist in the circumstances and when you place yourself in the circumstances, you should permit your imagination to take flight in order to arrive at the most interesting actions. The actor should stay away from the words of a script until they feel ownership of the actions!” – Stella Adler
WORDS LIE MOST OF THE TIME And when those words are written on a page in the form of a SCRIPT they Lie MOST of the time. In a well written script characters often don’t say what they mean or mean what they say. In a well written script it’s the subtext where the actual scene is unfolding. It’s our job as actors to communicate what is ‘going on’. And what is really going on is often in contradiction to the words being spoken. … Peter Sardi
In the above video you will here exactly the same dialogue/text from 8 different actors. This is a great demonstration in seeing how different meanings are communicated with the same lines because the meaning is not expressed in the lines themselves, but in the ‘what is going on’ (situation) BENEATH the lines, that is to say the SUBTEXT. See 2 FULL scenes below.
Reading 100 books on acting will not make you a better actor. Understanding the elementary principals that constitute ‘great acting,’including the above descriptions – Stella Adler on ‘words & actions,’ my description on how ‘words lie most of the time’ – will not make you a better actor! Reading (good) books on acting OR sitting in a class and listening to a teacher ‘talk’ about the specifics of acting and you clearly understanding it may point you in the right direction BUT it will not make you a better actor. In the same way you cannot learn to swim by reading 100 books on Swimming, you cannot learn to Act by reading 100 books on Acting. Eventually you need to jump into the water and move your BODY. You need to DO IT! We learn something in a deep way by DOING, not reading or sitting comfortably in a chair sipping coffee as we listen to the teacher espousing her expertise on the craft of acting. Sanford Meisner, one of the great American acting teachers once said, “Acting is Doing.” In that very small simple statement lies a BIG TRUTH. Most people miss it! HOW DO WE GET BEYOND “THE DESCRIPTION” TO THE ACTUALITY? ANSWER: Acting Exercises that promote – CONTACT – LISTENING – PRESENCE – IMPULSES – ALIVENESS. One such exercise is the PLAYING FOR CONTACT EXERCISE. I would describe it for you here but I can’t. Words would not do it justice. When it comes to all things “acting” DEMONSTRATION IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN EXPLANATION.
In ABOVE Video – Actors: “Alan Stephens & Rachael Berry demonstrate the Playing For Contact Exercise.
Is Social Media Reducing Your Creativity?
When I was in college, I had an acting teacher who was my mortal enemy. Despite our history, I recall something she said in class. She came into class in tears one day. She asked how we expected to be actors if we didn’t participate in life? How could we be engaged in art if we weren’t engaged in the world around us? She was right. A joint study by the University of Kansas and the University of Utah finally confirmed that participants scored higher overall on a series of creativity tests. More Nature equals more creativity. Maybe. The problem with the study is that the participants were immersed in nature for four days without any electronics. So there is a possibility that the higher creativity could be related to disconnecting from computers and iPhones for a while. “Social media” is on the verge of becoming an oxymoron. If Renoir were to paint an afternoon at any restaurant in Los Angeles or New York, he would have to be good at depicting the light reflecting off of an iPhone; couples in love, texting; whole groups of people, checking emails. Earlier studies on nature and creativity cite the decline in nature-based recreation over the last 30 years. The psychologists said our lives are filled with events like television, computers, mobile phones, and sirens that “ambush” our attention. Nature allows “the executive attentional system to replenish.” We become more human, more observant, more self-possessed. Could this be a cause for the increase in creativity? You can say art is about many things: passion, point of view, technique. The one thing that unifies all art is choice. The ability to choose is based on our ability to see priorities. It is hard to make choices when we are surrounded by noise. We can take back some of our creative lives by controlling the amount of noise around us. Electronic and otherwise.
Maybe Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman were on to something. Clearing our heads is the first step to finding our souls. – Stephen Tobolowsky