Friday, July 25, 2008

Ramblings About Actors and Acting -- SHYNESS


I was painfully shy as a child and young adult, but I never had stage fright, since the person on the stage was not me. You don't have to be shy in every situation to have shyness. I am no longer painfully shy and indeed in most situations I am as bold and aggressive as I need to be (some would say more but I pay them no heed). Thus it is even more surprising to me than it used to be when I suddenly find myself in a situation where I still am shy! It does happen.

I have noticed that Scott Bakula has some facial expressions and gestures (in interviews, etc.; I mean as Bakula, not as a character he portrays) that indicate to me that he is not shy but, what's the word: unassuming? and that he may have moments of shyness. Still, what I see in Scott isn't exactly shyness. What is the word? It is something I do recognize! It's certainly not embarrassment -- that's different. The thing is, what killed me most about my shyness is that I have a big mouth! Now what do you do when you're shy but can't shut up? Ho! You take up acting is what. Maybe Bakula had a little of that.

Acting isn't pretending. Pretending is indicating, pointing to an emotion instead of feeling it, pointing to an action instead of doing it. All acting teachers say don't indicate! Dean Stockwell pretends that he indicates instead of acting but he's full of it. He acts, and he's damned good too -- very damned good. Something, though, puts Scott in a class above him, and this has nothing to do with talent but rather has to do with how far each man is willing to go. I just don't see Stockwell allowing himself to do that scene from "The Invaders," strapped to the bed, writhing and screaming, crying in fear. See, to do that, he'd have to feel all that. Maybe I'm wrong about Stockwell there (and I know some of Stockwell's fans are well prepared to show me the error of my ways!), but even if I am right I don't disrespect him, I really don't; I've seen some fine work from him. How far to go is his choice.

Who has made that kind of choice is something I believe I can see. I have many disabilities, if you will, not like being shy an arm or leg, and I don't even mean my poor eyesight or my chronic ailments, but stuff like being afraid of airplanes and not swimming... not being good in math and science... not being able to recognize faces well (except of actors!) However, I have some abilities that are just as quirky, and one of them is this thing that lets me see. Now it's not all that special. I'm not psychic and I'm not so tremendously talented, here, but I know I see things in people that others don't and which are proven time and again to be correct. I see this limitation in Stockwell, and I see this openness in Bakula, and it's this which makes Bakula the better actor, not the fact that he's younger and more handsome (for indeed Stockwell was once younger and quite handsome himself, not that he isn't still handsome, and Bakula won't always be either!)

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