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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: February ::
Re: Olivier
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0585  Tuesday, 27 February 2002

From:           Andy White <
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Date:           Tuesday, 26 Feb 2002 20:07:13 -0500
Subject:        Olivier

On Jan Pick's remarks:  a big "Hear, Hear!"

It's more important, IMHO, to show Shakespeare videos side-by-side, note
the differences in style, and point out which actors have a stage
background, and which are merely career film actors.  These two media
are utterly different in their demands on the actor, requiring entirely
different types of expressive skills.  Olivier dedicated his whole body
to every role; film actors, on the other hand, often use little more
than their voice and their eyeballs.  Not that it doesn't take skill to
use one's eyes to act, but that it's not a skill that gets you very far
on-stage.

The better experiment, when possible, is to take students to see film
actors trying to perform Shakespeare on-stage -- and let them sit in
back of the house, please.  My experience has been that as convincing as
film actors may be in front of the camera, if you put them on-stage
their efforts are pathetic.  They have no sense of how to communicate
more than six feet around them.  And yes, I'm talking about big-name
actors, working both in England and America.

Andy White

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