Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Does the audience matter?

Yesterday I helped Tuan lead the 1st year warm ups in the morning. The students were good and did try but they were somewhat talkative and it was difficult to get them to listen to us. Though Tuan was very good at getting thier attention. As there are so many of them (80 altogether, we only had about 50) it is difficult to play normal drama games so instead the warm up was more about physically warming up rather than mentally. We did play one game with the which was cat and mouse; this works well with them as the majority of the group stand on the edge and 10 are actually playing the game. Although this was the only game they played most of the exercises required to be silent which meant they could really channel their focus and be ready for the day ahead. I found the warm up really helped me to be ready for the day and also focused my attention on what I needed to do as sometimes I can be quite wayward and not get everything I need to do done.

After the warm up myself and Carolina sat and read The Clean House, an american play written by Sarah Ruhl. I personally find it difficult to read plays because I can never immerse myself into them as you would with a book. However I think we have found reading out loud together works well and helped us to follow the action. The play was a bit abstract but the humour was my sort of thing and so I found it was brilliant. I recommend reading it in one go rather than reading bits here and there. The play is ultimately about what makes you laugh and what makes you love.

I really enjoyed US Drama yesterday as my thoughts about theatre were very much questioned. The man who took the lecture was once a student at the Lee Strasberg school and so had been brought up on method acting. I always thought this was the practice I understood and liked the most however, this has changed. I came to realise that method acting was about the actor and it was the actors job to always be truthful. But I do not understand how you can make something on the stage true when it is clearly pretence. The audience know they are seeing a play and the actors know they are performing a play. How can there be truth in that? Another aspect I could not understand was that it was not the actors job to care about the audience. In my mind the actors are there for the audience. The audience are there for the actors. The actors have to know their audience and respond differently each night to accomodate the different audience. Otherwise each night the performance will be exactly the same but the audience will not be. I believe that the audience are the most important people at any performance. If the actor is only performing for themselves then I think that is slightly egotistical and it will show in their performance.

4 comments:

Tuan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tuan said...

I completely agree with you, Miss Kelleher. I believe in truth on stage in the way that the actors/performers are 'playing' whatever is happening on stage as if it was real. So you do know and acknowledge it's a fake, and in that way you can make it real, because the performer can now take the theatre onto a new, a different level of perception. They lead the audience into a different world, where anything can happen. I don't agree with some of the rigid ideas of the Method, but there are some aspects that can help the actors and director to find this notion of truthfulness, whatever that may be. I believe in a mixture of different approaches towards theatre making. After all, why else do we have so many styles, 'methods', and techniques, etc. to draw from...

Mark Griffin said...

I'm with Tuan. Horses for courses... but Rosie's right as well in so much as method acting can turn the audience into voyeurs unable to influence the action with their reaction. It's interesting that 99.9% of film actors work within the method - precisely, I'd wager, because they will never be in the room live with their audience.

At it's finest the intensity of method acting can have a visceral effect on the audience and create an empathy for the emotion played almost through osmosis. Actors may always know what they do is 'fake' but the audience can escape into believing the action's authentic, true or even real.

CAROLINA said...

Method acting is rubish ahahah