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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: June ::
Re: Actors v Scholars
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1048  Monday, 2 June 2003

[1]     From:   Ted Dykstra <
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        Date:   Sunday, 1 Jun 2003 19:48:21 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1026 Re: Actors v Scholars

[2]     From:   Martin Steward <
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        Date:   Monday, 2 Jun 2003 09:01:48 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1026 Re: Actors v Scholars

[3]     From:   L. Swilley <
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        Date:   Monday, 2 Jun 2003 07:01:28 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1026 Re: Actors v Scholars


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ted Dykstra <
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Date:           Sunday, 1 Jun 2003 19:48:21 EDT
Subject: 14.1026 Re: Actors v Scholars
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1026 Re: Actors v Scholars

Edmund Taft writes:

>what I don't understand is: How can an actor play the
>part of a character who is MORE intelligent than the actor him- or
>herself?  Actors do it: J. Robert Oppenheimer, Edward Teller, and Hamlet
>have all been played by actors who, while intelligent, probably were not
>as intelligent as the characters they portrayed.
>
>Are there techniques for playing someone super-smart? I understand
>playing a character who is dumber than the actor, but one who is
>smarter? How is it done?

The same way that actors who aren't murderers play murderers. Primarily
with their imagination. Secondary to that would be to play the
character's intention in every scene, not his intelligence level.  I
might add that it is no easier whatsoever to play a character less
intelligent than oneself. The challenge is in fact exactly the same.

Ted Dykstra

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
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Date:           Monday, 2 Jun 2003 09:01:48 +0100
Subject: 14.1026 Re: Actors v Scholars
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1026 Re: Actors v Scholars

"How can an actor play the part of a character who is MORE intelligent
than the actor him- or herself?  Actors do it: J. Robert Oppenheimer,
Edward Teller, and Hamlet have all been played by actors who, while
intelligent, probably were not as intelligent as the characters they
portrayed."

Eh? How on earth can a dramatic character be tested on their
"intelligence"? How am I ever going to ask Hamlet if he knows the
capital of Peru? or the square root of 529? Intelligence is usually
defined as an aptitude for learning. Frozen forever in time, unable to
venture beyond the bounds of the prison of words that defines him,
Hamlet will never learn anything.

m

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           L. Swilley <
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Date:           Monday, 2 Jun 2003 07:01:28 -0500
Subject: 14.1026 Re: Actors v Scholars
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1026 Re: Actors v Scholars

Edmund Taft wrote,

>How can an actor play the
>part of a character who is MORE intelligent than the actor him- or
>herself?... I understand
>playing a character who is dumber than the actor, but one who is
>smarter? How is it done?

I should think it is done because the issues of character are moral
rather than intellectual, and - with certain allowances for differences
of depth of appreciation of the problems faced - the moral problems of
geniuses are available to any reasonably intelligent actor.

L. Swilley

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