In a coaching session this weekend we had to create a very complex, manipulative and high functioning character.
It was decided that every line that was said to this character needed to be tackled on three levels. This character needed to assess if the questions she was answering were about …
1) the situation that had JUST occurred,
2) her childhood and family history (i.e. was she being psychoanalysed)
3) or could it be about a previous event in the relationship with the person she was talking to.
THREE possible connections to each line and the actor NEVER knew which response would be appropriate until the line was delivered. The response always depended on how the incoming line was played, as the exact meaning was never contained in the words but in the behaviour and choices of the other character.
The actor could never plan.
The only choice was to listen, assess and respond.
For every line there were complex choices to be made and many alternatives to assess. Our character’s listening was fabulously active and wonderfully complex.
(Actors who plan don’t need to listen – so, they are never real)
It’s a very simple tool.
We should use it more often.
IF YOU WANT TO WORK WITH THESE FANTASTIC PRACTICAL PROCESSES, CLICK HERE TO PUT YOURSELF ON ‘THE REHEARSAL ROOM’ MAILING LIST – THAT WILL KEEP YOU IN TOUCH WITH WORKSHOPS DATES.