The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0915  Tuesday, 2 April 2002

From:           Michael Yawney <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 1 Apr 2002 14:28:00 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 13.0897 Re: Acting the Bard
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0897 Re: Acting the Bard

> As a human being first (actor third) I must
> profoundly disagree with
> both Aimee Luzier and Susan St. John who I am sure
> are wonderful
> actresses.  My point is that first you have to
> decide one of two things
> - and if I may take Iago as an example.  Did
> Shakespeare withhold Iago's
> source of ire because (a) he was being mischievously
> secretive or (b) he
> deliberately withheld the information.  Actors have
> no more information
> that the audience in this matter.  To the acting Ms
> St John and Luzier I
> say - that means you too! You don't know therefore
> can't know.  I think
> the clue is clear.


The mistake made here is to think that if the actor makes a choice, that
it will be automatically understood by the audience. These choices of
motive, etc. are merely spurs to the individual imagination.  The
audience has no way to know that this Iago is acting on sexual jealousy
and that one some other motive.

In creating any artist will need to set up a certain specifics for
themselves. Actors need to make choices as to gesture, tone, etc. but
most of these choices will be based on who they think the character is.
To be the embodiment of boundless satanic hatred is not usually helpful
when deciding on the details of the physical and vocal score.

One needs to find some logic to one's behavior on stage, but that is not
to deny that there is something larger happening as well. Or that there
is something irrational as well. In fact, by making a specific choice,
which arises from the particular actors own psyche, often releases the
irrational within the actor.

One of the reasons why Shakespeare and other playwrights are most vague
on motives in the most demanding roles (Hamlet and Lear also come to
mind) is that the role needs to be elastic enough to accommodate a
variety of actors, who will play the roles from a variety of angles.

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