By Melissa Bruder, Lee Michael Cohn, Madeleine Olnek, Nathaniel Pollack, Robert Previtio, Scott Zigler, David Mamet
6 operating actors describe their tools and philosophies of the theater. All have labored with playwright David Mamet on the Goodman Theater in Chicago.
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Additional resources for A Practical Handbook for the Actor
To retrieve what is rightfully mine. d. to implore a loved one to give me another chance. e. to show an inferior who’s boss. f. to make amends for bad behavior. All of the above actions, despite their variation, could each serve the needs of the scene. Notice that each one is phrased clearly and concisely, thus making it easy to act on. Further, each one conforms to the guidelines in chapter 1. As per examples c and d, an action is always phrased in the first person. Finally, in the action where another person is mentioned, the relationship will to a great degree dictate how the action will be performed.
In the scene Happy • breaks the ice with Biff after a long separation. • gets Biff to open up. • fills Biff in on what’s been going on since he has been away. • tries to find out what Biff is doing with his life. • expresses his dissatisfaction with his own life. • considers Biff’s business proposal. When we tie these components together, what the character is doing is having a heart-to-heart talk with his brother. The essence of what the character is doing in the scene might be, for example, putting a loved one on the right track.
By fun we don’t necessarily mean something that makes you laugh, but something that is truly compelling to you. This includes things you might never actually do offstage, but that appeal to your sense of play. If you’ve ever really wanted to tell someone off, for instance, here is your chance. Language is your main tool here. The more vital, active, and gutsy your language is, the more life you will bring to the stage because your action will be that much more exciting to you. ” There will occasionally be times when a seemingly mundane action is perfectly correct for a scene.