Action

“Your actions reveal not what you want, but what you choose.” -Shane Parrish

“In our world, it is becoming harder and harder to communicate with each other simply and honestly, on a gut level. Yet we still go to the theatre to have a communion with the truth of our existence, and, ideally, we leave it knowing that kind of communication is still possible The theatre can put forward simple human values in hopes that the audience may leave inspired to try to live by such values. Seeing an individual doing [their] best against impossible odds and without regard to [their] fears allows the audience to identify that very capacity within themselves. That iron will is the will of the actor bringing not some “magnificent performance” to the stage, but [their] own simple human values and the actions to which they drive [him/her]. When truth and virtue are so rare in almost every area of sour society the world needs theatre and the theatre needs actors who will bring the truth of the human soul to the stage. The theatre may now be the only place in society where people can go hear the truth.” -“A Practical Handbook For The Actor” by Melissa Bruder, Lee Michael Cohn, Madeleine Olnek, Nathaniel Pollack,. Robert Previto and Scott Zigler

“Always tell the truth, it’s the easiest thing to remember.” -David Mamet

“A Practical Handbook For The Actor” is one of my all time favorite acting books because it’s…well….so…practical. My very first acting mentor/teacher, Kurt Naebig, introduced me to it in his class way back in Chicago. It then led to me seeking out the Atlantic Theatre Company and their classes in Los Angeles which then led to the founding of Vs. Theatre Company (Another blog post for another time.) I constantly revisit the book.

I recently re-read the chapter on “physical action.” It states that there are 9 components or requirements to a good action. I won’t go into detail here as the book (get it, read it!) does a great job explaining each one. But I’ll list them below.

An action must…

  1. be physically capable of being done.
  2. be fun to do.
  3. be specific.
  4. have it’s test in the other person.
  5. not be an errand.
  6. not presuppose any physical or emotional state.
  7. not be manipulative
  8. have a “cap”.
  9. be in line with the intentions of the playwright.

Pretty terrific life advice too, don’t you think?

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