How Long Can a Surprise Be?

SURPRISES are a major tool for actors. ALL the big name actors play moments of surprise brilliantly.

Surprises are a particular focus of The Rehearsal Room process because they are such important storytelling tools.   Some actors play surprises intuitively … they just trust themselves to do it. But there are techniques that can help.  And understanding how a surprise works can be a major factor in trusting to play them.

A SIMPLE FACT ABOUT SURPRISES:    Surprises can be very short (a second or two) or very long.

Watch Miriam Margoyles in this clip!! Her first surprise runs for 1 minute and 11 seconds!! This is a real life surprise; she’s not acting (although maybe she has heightened it because of the occasion). It is thoroughly believable … all the way.

So, surprises can be LO-O-O-O-O-ONG.   They can often run over a number of lines … sometimes for a whole scene.

I have been thinking about surprises of late because the theme for Acting SLAM #4 is “Surprises”.
I hope you have, too!!


Thanks to Karla Hillam for leading me to this clip.

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