THREE-HANDER scenes are fun. There’s at least double the number of impulses demanding a response. As usual the actor needs to assess the effect they are having on the person they are speaking to. But now they also need to be assessing the effect on the other party to the conversation. Is that person supporting or undermining? Does what they are thinking/doing matter? Can the third person in your conversation be used to help attain your conversation goal? Or do they need to be silenced to enable success.
If ANTHONY HOPKINS and KEVIN SPACEY are right in suggesting that acting is ‘like playing tennis’ – then a standard 2-hander is a singles match. A three-hander is American-singles. Now you have to keep an eye both the other players while you select your shots.
For the actor that means more choices and more challenges.
If however, the actors have decide all their shots in advance then the spontaneity of the game is lost. All that is left is actors recreating a ‘tennis charade’.
… AND MORE FUN.
(Kate, Richard and Karla are testing out The Rehearsal Room approach to 3-handers for the first time. The results were very encouraging.)