He has an interesting answer in his blog:
must want to be beyond the needs of being accepted as being glamorous and
beautiful. Looking for acceptance from other people is to put yourself at the
doorstep of unhappiness. Acting is not an indulgence. Do not do it unless
the passion is for the art of acting, even if that is expressed through
stage, and no matter how small the exposure is – even street theatre"
"The passion to express stories through the process of acting should be
paramount rather than aspiring to live and emulate the lives of the people
photographed in the Bombay Times. Do not be led by falsehood. I am presenting
to you the answer to the question “what does it take to become an actor” – not
what does it take to become a star. For that there are enough people
teaching acting in 3 months."
takes incredible discipline. Your body is the instrument through which you express yourself, like a violin is the violinist’s instrument. It takes years
of discipline to create mastery over your body and voice. It takes years of
introspection and hard work to learn how to use the inherent emotions in you,
to be able transfer them seamlessly to your mind and emotion and from there
seamlessly to your body and voice.
The discipline and ‘riyaz’ of an actor
is no less than that of a classical dancer.
of absolute truth are the most satisfying moments in any art, and the only way
you know them, or recognize them, are because you feel closer to something
infinite, some power beyond yourself that seems to be in control of your
emotions, you body, your heart, your mind.
are the moments to aspire to and just a few in your lifetime will make you a
"You asked me a a question about the art of acting I assume and not the commerce. The second I know nothing about and do not care to. You go to the Gym, get great pictures taken, discover your best angles, and go to parties to network. Get a six pack or a great body and go to photographers that know how to exploit those assets and then later photo shop them into perfection. Being attractive on the outside may be important, but the ‘art’ of acting is to be attractive on the ‘inside’."
I will repeat his last line, "The art of acting is to be attractive in the inside."
Another director, Charles Marowitz, said something like that but in a more pragmatic way, "There is no such this as boring acting, just boring actors."
Lastly, Mr. Kapur's answer reminds me of Stanislavski's letter to a young actor:
"An actor is a teacher of beauty and truth. For this an actor must rise above the mob by virtue of his talent or cultivation or other capacities. An actor must be above all a cultured person, be able to pull himself up to the level of the geniuses of literature."
(Think the Marx Brothers)You can open a funny door.
(Open a door and it falls off its hinges.)But you can’t open a funny door funny.
Thanks Dave Harris for passing on this comedy koan he had heard in a class. I like it. Sounds perfectly reasonable. The point being something like: You don’t have to exaggerate the comedy. Trust it. Don’t push. Let it play for itself. Don't gild the lilly, comedy wise.
However upon further reflection, why couldn’t an actor open a funny door funny? Why couldn’t the character being doing something funny as they open a trick door? I don't want to over-think it... But I get the point.
The 17th century Russian comic playwright Nicolai Gogol, who is considered the father of modern realism, wrote some great advice for actors playing comedy:
“Above all beware of falling into caricature. Nothing ought to be exaggerated or hackneyed, not even the minor roles… The less an actor thinks about being funny or making the audience laugh, the more the comic elements of his part will come through. The ridiculous will emerge spontaneously through he very seriousness with which each character is occupied with his own affairs. They are all caught up in their own interests, bustling and fussing, even fervent, as if faced with the most important tasks of their lives. Only the audience, from its detached position, can perceive the vanity of their concerns. But they themselves do not joke at all, and have no inkling that anybody is laughing at them. The intelligent actor, before seizing upon the petty oddities and superficial peculiarities of his part, must strive to capture those aspects that are common to all mankind. He ought to consider each character, what it is that consumes his life and constitutes the perpetual object of his thoughts, his idée fixe. Having grasped this major concern, the actor must assimilate it so thoroughly that the thoughts and yearnings of his character seem to be his own and remain constantly in his mind over the course of the performance…. So, one should first grasp the soul of a part and not its dress.”
Chico Marx playing piano. Why? Because it's awesome:
Wait for the 1:15 music intro...
More Info & Reservations: www.AmericanTheaterProject.com
The awesome Josh Tariff, who works at my apt building, is performing at i/O West.
Here's Josh talking about the show & one talking about the improv pioneer Del Close. Mr. Close is considered one of the greatest influences on modern improv comedy.
For twenty-five years actors have given Simon Annand unprecedented access to photograph them in the intimacy of their dressing-rooms during the 30 minutes before curtain up - 'the half'.
Just looking at these photos makes me nervous.
Check out this excellent (short) documentary on his photography of actors.