Is it possible that GOOD acting can deliver a BAD performance?

That probably depends on how you assess whether the acting is good or not.  It also depends on what you see as making a good performance.

I recently went to see a well-written play by an international playwright.  I had read a number of extremely enthusiastic responses from actors on the Internet raving about the performances in this production.  But as a member of the audience I found the evening boring.  A number of acquaintances who weren’t actors had a similar response. One even said simply, “It wasn’t very good.”

How can this be?

How can the acting community rave and the general public be unmoved.

Is it possible that they are looking at entirely different elements?

It is safe to say that an audience wants to be engaged and entertained.  Pyrotechnics aside, the only tool or device that works consistently in fulfilling that task is a well-told story.

Might it be that some actors are giving an over inflated importance to other ingredients besides engaging an audience with the story.  I can definitely recall spending one long night at the theatre watching many in a large cast crying with great conviction.  While they were sobbing all I could think of was that well-known quote to the effect that good drama is when the audience is crying not when the actor is.  That night I certainly was not moved to tears.  The only emotional distress was caused by the length to time I had to sit on an uncomfortable seat.

‘Story’ surely must be the most important ruler to measure the outcome of a performance.  Does the story engage?  Does it continue to hold interest to the end?  Does it have something to say?  Is that worth saying?  Aren’t they the most important assessments?

A tennis play who has great ground stokes but can’t deliver a match is not going to entertain an audience.

It’s no different for an actor.




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