OPEN DISCUSSION...PRETTY MUCH
(This one's for the actors, or those who have studied it in their time, or those who use such technique at some point.
Or for liars.)
Or for liars.)
Okay, guys: I think periodically I will ask a question here and look to all of you answer it, because I think a strength of a good blog is to engage in or introduce a discussion. Hopefully this will work. This is something that came up during my interview for the Classical course at Central. I was posed this question during my interview:
"What do you do when you act?"
For the actors, you'll be thinking, "I'm focusing, I'm saying lines, I'm listening to my partner, I'm putting myself into the circumstances of the character," etc. Well, you're wrong. Every answer I gave of that ilk garnered the response, "Yes, but what are you Doing?" An example of the interaction:
"Well, I'm staying present."
"Yes, but how do you Do that?"
"With my body, with my breath, with my voice...?"
I had no idea. I was exasperated and so was my auditor, who assured me, perhaps in an attempt to cut off the conversation, that there were loads of answers. I just didn't have one. He wanted something beyond Stanislavsky, and I could only really call out technique. I just didn't have an answer.
I thought about it a long time after--the rest of the day the question followed me: backstage at my performance of Much Ado About Nothing, and later into the audience of Conversations in Tusculum, which is where, while watching Aidan Quinn stand against a column, an answer occurred to me.
Here's what I came up with. I think the answer is that you breathe. According to my yogiraj, breath is one of the three things that make up life (the other two being light and love). Breath has been known to control our rate of thinking, the pace of our dialogue, our action. It keeps us present, calms us down, speeds us up, and is the thing we live on. All of these things are happening when we act and affecting how we act, what's going on in the moment, so I think that's my answer.
My roommate, Heidi, another Central acceptee this year for dramaturgy, who I had repeated the question to later, came home with an answer to days later. She had seen a documentary made about mounting Mother Courage at the Public in 2006, where Meryl Streep was basically asked the same question. She said something to the affect of being a translator; that she was both Brecht and herself, both 1939 and 2006, embodying this story and making it coherent for an audience of today, singing the songs of old so they not be forgot.
So Meryl Streep translates, and I breathe. What is it you do?
Lying, lying liars: feel free to comment as well.