Three actors this morning were making impressive progress on the third morning of preparation for the next Audition Workshop.
PROGRESS is something that should NOT be measured by the size or quality of the outcome. Progress MUST be measured by the distance travelled and not by whether you have arrived. These three actors have tested lots of acting options and made many practical adjustments that have revealed further interesting challenges. They have asked good questions and learnt a lot.
Together they have been testing and assessing The Rehearsal Room precept that “difficulty is the main element that drives story forward”
One actor was having difficulty understanding why the character would say a particular line. The chosen solution for this problem was to find a ‘difficulty’ (in the circumstances and relationship) that could generate an impulse or reason to say the line. This was an entirely logical choice. Yet when the choice was implemented it was difficult for an audience to understand why the line would be said that way. What went wrong?
LOGICAL versus PRACTICAL
In life, when we are deciding to speak, the MAIN element that drives our choice is – “Will this help me achieve my conversation goal?”
In life, if the answer to this question is “It wont help”, I have three options…
- Find a more appropriate way to say those words
- Choose to change the words
- Or even decide not to say them at all.
The actor mostly doesn’t have the luxury of the last two options. The actor (generally) HAS to say the words.
What can the actor do?
The solution is not very complicated. A reason simply has to be found that will work towards achieving the conversation goal BECAUSE THAT IS THE MAIN ISSUE THAT DRIVES OUR CHOICES IN LIFE.
If the words we have to say have a negative connotation and that helps us achieve our conversation goal then there is no problem. But if negative words defeat our conversation goal we MUST find A POSITIVE WAY to say them.
For example I can say, “That was an awful thing to do,” in a way that humiliates and demeans the person I’m speaking to…
I can say, “That was an awful thing to do” and mean I entirely support you, I understand why you did it and it is kind of funny.
EXACTLY THE SAME WORDS BUT ENTIRELY DIFFERENT MEANINGS.
The one factor that will determine a functional choice is, WHAT AM I TRYING TO ACHIEVE IN THIS CONVERSATION.
In today’s session everyone made huge progress in understanding how important it is to make sure that you always continuously pursue THE REASON FOR THE CONVERSATION. That’s the key element that shapes ALL the choices.
The bar goes up next week when the casting directors are here. Let’s see if everyone can stick to simple conversation goals OR whether the importance of the occasion disrupts the decision making process.
This will produce a new stage in the journey from which to assess ‘progress’.
I’m looking forward to it.
(Check out the article on “The Halo Effect” for more tools to generated flexibility in making these choices)