Earl Gray

Earl Gray
"You can argue with me but, in the end, you'll have to face that fact that you're arguing with a squirrel." - Earl Gray

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Novels versus Poetry - Part II

    When poetry books approach parity with novels we'll see verse collections in book clubs.

    Don't hold your breath.

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #15
    In "Novels versus Poetry - Part I" we established the primacy of performance (in poetry, at least).  Note the term "performance", never "recital" and certainly not "reading".  Too many videos sound like the voice is following from text.  Perhaps they believe that we viewers can't detect this. 

    We can. 

     That would be fine for prose, which is meant to be read, aloud if necessary.  Not so for poetry (as distinct from "poetry for poets").

    In this brief installment we're going to define the Actor's Prime Directive, something that should be taught as Lesson #1 on Day #1 of Acting 101.  Everything we need to know about convincing role play flows from this fundamental principle.  What is more, we're going to define it in five words.

    Most theater arts texts will phrase this maxim as "make your words your own."  This could be misunderstood, much as "these are your lines" is what production assistants say while handing you your script.  You need to make your speech sound natural.  Even if everyone present knows that Shakespeare wrote your dialogue in language that was obsolete centuries before you were born, "sound natural" means you must make us viewers believe, for the moment at least, that you are the author and are making it up as you go along.

    If you never derive anything else from this humble squirrel, understand this:

    As a performer, your job isn't to convince us that you composed your words. 

    As a performer, your job is to convince us that you are composing your words.

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