Tag: Actor Wisdom

Noises off – Intro, Quote from

It was during the run of my very first professional show, The Two of Us, four one-acters in which Lynn Redgrave and Richard Briers played eleven characters between them. Five of those characters were in the final farce. One night I watched it from backstage, and as I saw Lynn and Richard running desperately from door to door, doing quick changes as they went, it seemed to me that this was at least as funny as what was going on round the front. It also struck me that the overwhelming obligation actors feel to make their next entrance on time, come what may backstage, was the archetype of the obligation we all feel to keep up our appearances in the world, despite all the difficulties of circumstance and the inherent waywardness of our nature. What would happen, I wondered, if the strictly ordered disorder of a farce onstage was overrun by the real disorder of the actors’ lives off…?

Noises Off
Michael Frayn

Baltimore Details and The Wire – Michael K. Williams on

When I first got down there, I did my homework to learn the specific Baltimore accent. I remember sitting at a table at Faidley’s, in the back of Lexington Market, over some crab cakes, and just watching and eavesdropping on people for hours. I picked up the interesting phrases, the habits of speech, the way those vowels sometimes took left turns. Baltimore has this character, like a stew, that comes from being part North and part South. Some things come up from Virginia and the Carolinas (where my dad’s family was from), and some down from the Northeast. It all converged in Baltimore, meshed together, and became its own unique thing.

When I came out of the downtown market and—in broad daylight—saw addicts nodding out right at the corner of Eutaw Street, I actually thought it was a setup for a shot for The Wire. I didn’t know much about Baltimore, but that sight woke me up. It drove home what we were doing. I’d met some people, heard some stories, and learned that the life expectancy in the Black neighborhoods of Baltimore is worse than in North Korea and Syria. Part of my process involved walking around the hood to get a sense of what it was like, especially at night. I knew East Flatbush, but you can’t just transfer one hood to the other. I feel like too many shows and films just do “New York” when they’re trying to capture a certain kind of urban Black community. But David Simon and Ed Burns were definitely going for something specific. There are similarities—we’re all human—but the character and textures are different, and I aimed to absorb what I could.

One late night I was driving around that area with a friend—windows down, sunroof open—and I heard some dude yelling what sounded like “Airyo!” After the second or third time, I pulled up at the curb and called one of them over to the window.
“What is that?” I asked. “What are you saying? ‘Air-Yo’?”
“Where you from?” he asked.
“Brooklyn.”
“What do you say in Brooklyn when you call each other?”
“Oh!” I said as it clicked. “You’re saying ‘Aye yo’?”

So I worked that into Omar’s vocabulary. It’s like “Hey, yo”—but “Aye yo,” with a peculiar Baltimore r sound jammed in there that took some practice, as did Omar’s specific drawl. I got compliments from Baltimore people on that, and when viewers were surprised I was from Brooklyn, that meant a lot to me.

Scenes from My Life
Michael K. Williams, with Jon Sternfeld

Highly recommend this book. After I read this I re-watched, for the nth time, Season 1 of The Wire. Still awesome. Still my favorite show.

Alice Cooper vs Marilyn Manson – Two Approaches to Character

ALICE COOPER: I looked around and noticed [that] everyone I was trying to be like was dead. I went, “Okay, I get it. Alice has got to be one thing and I’ve got to be another thing. I can’t coexist with Alice; Alice has to be a character I play onstage.” When the curtain comes down he really doesn’t want to live my life and I don’t want to live his. He lives two hours a night onstage. He doesn’t want to play golf, he doesn’t want to be married, he doesn’t want children. He doesn’t like anything except what he’s doing onstage, and you leave him up there. To this day, we have a great relationship.

MARILYN MANSON: I’m completely unlike a lot of other performers in the past who have been forgiven or come to terms with the real world because they tell everyone their performance is just a show. So people say, “Oh, it’s okay then. We don’t care. He’s not really a bad person.” It’s not just a show for me. It’s my life. I live my art. I’m not just playing a character onstage. Anyone who thinks I’m just trying to be this weird or shocking guy is missing the point. I’ve never tried to be merely shocking because it’s too simple. I could do a lot more shocking things [than I do]. I’ve just always asserted myself as a villain because the villain in any walk of life is the person who refuses to follow blindly and always wants to question things.

Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal
Jon Wiederhorn, Katherine Turman

Throw One Away – 2 quotes

The management question, therefore, is not whether to build a pilot system and throw it away. You will do that. […] Hence plan to throw one away; you will, anyhow.
Fred Brooks
The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering
Wikiquote

Frears is carefully and patiently teasing out the power and subtlety in Shashi by getting him to act simply and underplay everything. You can see the performance developing take by take. After eight or nine takes Shashi is settled, a little tired and bored, more casual and relaxed. Now he is able to throw the scene away. And this is when he is at his best, though he himself prefers the first few takes when he considers himself to be really ‘acting’. Sometimes he can’t see why Frears wants to do so many retakes.
Hanif Kureishi
Sammy and Rosie Get Laid Screenwriters Diary

“An actor is a man who pretends to be someone who is usually pretending to be someone else.” – Kenneth Tynan

How much of theatre has to do with imposture! Walter Kerr, in his brilliant book The Silent Clowns, points out that Chaplin’s genius lay in his ability to assume any identity at the drop of a hat – to become, in a split second, according to the demands of the plot, a great lover, a great gymnast, violinist, skater, thief, gourmet, conjurer, etc. etc., while having, at bottom, no true identity of his own. This leads me to reflect how much of world drama concerns people pretending to be what they aren’t. Hamlet feigns madness; the noble King of Thebes is an incestuous patricide; Kent pretends to be a serving-man, Edgar to be a mad beggar, In Too True to Be Good (which I saw last week in Clifford’s excellent production) nobody is what he seems – the humble Private Meek is in fact the military commander, while the commander himself is a frustrated water-colourist; the confidence trickster is a priest; his henchwoman poses first as a nurse and then as a countess. Throughout Shaw, burglars turn out to be philosophers, and villainous exploiters turn out to be heroes; even Saint Joan dresses up as a man. Mistaken identity is not only what the craft of acting is all about; it is what much Of drama is all about. An actor is a man who pretends to be someone who is usually pretending to be someone else.

November 16, 1975

Kenneth Tynan. The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan

Alan Arkin Interview

What is a successful life to you?

A successful life is constantly shedding skin. When you’re a teenager, you lose a girlfriend or boyfriend and you think you’ll die. Five years later, you look back and you realize it was childish. You’re laughing. That goes on through a successful life — you come to endings and you have the courage for continual growth.

Do you prefer standup, sitcoms or feature films?

I mostly can’t abide sitcoms. I feel there’s an undercurrent in most of them that’s: “You remember us, we’re the cute people you love.” A director once told me the problem with sitcoms: “A great theatrical act has a beginning, middle and end, sitcoms are always act two, they have no beginning or end.” A Buddhist idea of hell is being trapped in a perpetual cycle of mistakes you never get out of.

Nadja Sayej,
InsideHook

Fresh Air – Assorted Theater Interviews

https://freshairarchive.org/playlist/2402

October 29, 1997 21:19 David Mamet’s Advice for Actors. Playwright and Screenwriter David Mamet. His latest film is “The Edge,” and he’s recently published two books: “The Old Religion,” (Simon & Schuster) is a novel about a southern Jewish man falsely accused of murder. “True and False: Heresy and Common sense for the Actor” (Pantheon) is a guide to acting that negates the common and popular dramatic techniques. Mamet won the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for “Glengarry Glen Ross.”

June 11, 1991 13:01 Playwright Christopher Durang on New York Theater Durang is best-known for his controversial play, “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You.” A new collection of six of his plays has just come out called “Christopher Durang Explains It All For You.” He joins Fresh Air to talk about some of his successes and failures, and his frustrations with New York theater. Added

December 11, 1998 11:12 Frank Rich Dismisses His Title as the “Butcher of Broadway” Once the most powerful reviewers in America, The New York Times’ former drama critic, Frank Rich has a new collection of his reviews published “Hot Seat : Theater Criticism for the New York Times, 1980-1993 by Random House.” When he stepped down as critic in 1993, It was considered a great day for many playwrights. The British press once dubbed him “The Butcher of Broadway;” playwright David Mamet called him “a terrible critic..

April 24, 2020 29:30 Remembering Tony Award-Winning Character Actor Brian Dennehy The burly actor, who died April 15, played the leading role in Death of a Salesman, in both the Broadway production as well as the 2000 TV movie. Dennehy spoke to David Bianculli in 1999.

March 26, 2020 16:35 ‘Fresh Air’ Remembers Broadway Playwright Terrence McNally McNally, who died March 24 due to complications related to COVID-19, won Tony awards for Love! Valour! Compassion!, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Ragtime and Master Class. Originally broadcast June 1993.

November 13, 2019 35:15 Actor Willem Dafoe Reflects On A Career Of Being A ‘Good Bad Guy’ Dafoe has played villains, soldiers, van Gogh and Jesus. He’s earned four Oscar nominations and appeared in more than 100 films — including, most recently, Motherless Brooklyn and The Lighthouse.

January 3, 2017 50:30 Lin-Manuel Miranda On Disney, Mixtapes And Why He Won’t Try To Top ‘Hamilton’ The creator of the hit musical Hamilton, talks about his early love of musicals, and writing rhymes for Hamilton.

May 29, 2014 44:00 From The Screen To Broadway: Chris O’Dowd Takes On ‘Of Mice And Men’ The Irish actor was introduced to a large American audience through the film Bridesmaids. He’s now playing Lenny in the revival of the theatrical adaptation of John Steinbeck’s classic.

August 16, 2013 27:03 Bobby Cannavale, At Home On Broadway The actor, who starred in Glenngarry Glen Ross opposite Al Pacino, has been acting for the stage since he was a teenager in Union City, N.J. “It was the only thing I ever wanted to do, really,” he says.

November 22, 2012 50:16 Gershwins And Me’ Tells The Stories Behind 12 Songs. Musician Michael Feinstein chronicles his experience working as an archivist and cataloger for legendary songwriter Ira Gershwin. The book is presented through the stories of 12 of the Gershwin brothers‘ songs, including “Fascinating Rhythm,” “The Man I Love” and “I Got Rhythm.” This interview was originally broadcast on Oct. 17, 2012. Add

August 30, 2012 17:58 David Alan Grier’s ‘Sporting Life’ On Broadway. The stand-up comedian and star of In Living Color played Sporting Life in the opera Porgy and Bess. The show, which won Tony Awards, closes on Broadway next month. This interview was originally broadcast on May 22, 2012. David Alan Grier plays Sporting Life in the opera Porgy and Bess, which closes on Broadway next month. Porgy and Bess won two Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical.

May 15, 2012 49:11 Audra McDonald: Shaping ‘Bess’ On Broadway The actress is nominated for her fifth Tony Award for the Broadway musical Porgy and Bess. “There’s very few quiet moments for Bess,” she says. “They’re all very big, very emotional. … And to commit to that night after night is very difficult.

As If Thinking – Fake It Til You Make It

One of my favorite ‘tricks’ came from a psychotherapy client I worked with years ago. He suffered from episodic bouts of severe depression. After a while, he figured out a way to handle the depression while working a complex career position. When he woke up in the morning, if he felt the symptoms of depression, he would pretend that he was an actor in a movie. After he would shower, he would stare into his bathroom mirror and shout out loud to himself Action! He would then act as if he was a non-depressed movie character.

The point of this exercise was to temporarily get out of his depressed mode and act as if he were a non-depressed business person going to work and completing his daily routine. I thought this was a clever short term psychological technique of not allowing the depressive symptoms to overtake his life. Many times, people will allow the symptoms to keep them from functioning in their daily lives, making the symptoms even worse, a vicious circle soon occurs.

Sometimes, if you act as if long enough, you become that role…for good or for bad.

Quora

see also No Stupid Questions: Does “As If” Thinking Really Work? (NSQ Ep. 12)