Monday, July 28, 2008

Ramblings About Actors and Acting -- EXPRESSION OF THE WHOLE SOUL

prostitute in the Middle Ages; how my father tended to view actors

copyright Wikimedia Commons/public domain

Although my father maintained that all actors were prostitutes, he still came to see every play I did in school (he couldn't come to the ones in L.A.) Perhaps he trusted me more than he trusted other actors, although I, like they, shamelessly gave away my emotions, bared them for all to see. What impelled me to expose myself like that, while also hiding behind my own face, the mask I wore, as the fictional Guy Burgess (yes, there was a real one) put it, only to be who I was?

(Motivations may be plentiful job is twofold: to be who s/he must be and to be in the situation [emotions count as a situation] in which s/he must be. That is all. convince him-/herself of that in order to convince us, and all is well.)

Whether they are intensely private people or gregarious, actors must have a need to share their beings. (I recognize in myself a need to share who I am, a need to be understood and known.) True, their job entails being other beings, but the fabric from which they create those other beings is... their selves. It's all they have, finally. Oh yes, and a little makeup, sometimes some prosthetics, costumes, props, and lines written by other people, not to mention whatever was created all around them by others, from sets to interplay with other actors to feedback from audiences, and the direction they receive which comes from others, but the lowdown is they use themselves to create these others.

Costume for actor Frédérick Lemaître in "Paris le bohémien" by Joseph Bouchardy, Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin, Paris, April 18, 1842

copyright Wikimedia Commons/public domain
Why this need to share themselves? (Why does this not extend to a need to share details of their private lives? Ah, this is a whole other issue!) We call it expressing ourselves, but as much as a painting is an expression of an individual, the painter smears paint on the canvas, not literally his or her guts! This is not to downplay the personal nature of other arts; I put a lot of myself into my writing and showing it to others is showing others my soul. It's not showing them my whole soul all at once; I can send it out without following it, whereas Bakula, for example, can't send himself out without following. He has to be there. He has to be that. I have to be here, writing, but no one sees the physical me, whereas even if Bakula doesn't have to be there in the movie theatre with us, he sends himself out there. It does make a difference.

Even if an actor is shy, then, must s/he be something of an exhibitionist? More likely it's a cry to be known. If so, it's also a cry to know, because an actor gets to meet his or her creation, and understand and get inside that person, and get that person inside him/herself! So many actors have said they began to act to escape reality but I think many do it (even the same ones who are escaping) to find a reality, even more, to make a reality. They run to as well as from.

Don't we all, in our way?

Källunge kyrka auf Gotland. Hauptportal: Eidesleistung; two people sharing (as this author sees it) in their everyday lives

copyright Wikimedia Commons/Wolfgang Sauber

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