What Acting Isn't

A few nights ago I went to a theatrical performance where nearly everyone was very ineffective.

This is because everyone was so busy pretending (and many not pretending very well) to be a character.  The result was that it was uncomfortable to watch and that no matter what the script was about, completely unmoving to watch.

The next morning I attended a church service.  A young woman got up to read the scripture lessons.  Now I’ve also seen many people in church feel the need to “read expressively” or something like that where their phoney voices made it very difficult to actual hear what they were saying.

This young woman just read clearly.  She understood what she was saying and delivered it simply; she was connected to herself and her text.  And it was very easy to listen and very moving to hear.

I thought ‘if the actors from the previous evening were in this room and I had the opportunity to speak to them, it would be easy to help them understand that if they gave up all the pretending their theatrical performances would be impressive instead of embarrassing.’

Alas, I do not that have that opportunity.

Acting is not pretending.  If you can find a class that will teach you how to do what the characters do, actually feel what the character might feel because you are the one in the situation not the character, if you can find your way to a director who won’t let you step outside of yourself and act sort of ridiculous, you can change from being an amateur to being a real actor whose work is not just worth seeing but hiring.