14 July 2007

Now *that's* acting

Actors from time to time say things that would never come out of their mouths in real life.

Two of my favorite examples:

I did a production of California Suite a few years ago and one of my castmates, Russell, was playing Billy, who is seeing his ex-wife Hannah for the first time in several years. All you really need to know here is that the character Billy was played by Alan Alda in the movie back when Mr. Alda was the poster boy for the sensitive male and that Russell is politically somewhere to the right of the John Birch society. Anyway, at one point when Hannah and Billy are talking about their daughter, Billy says "If you respect her as a person, you have to respect her right to make a free choice." Russell came off stage after a rehearsal and I grinned at him and said "Now that's acting!" and he agreed.

When David was in Six Degrees of Separation, his character, Larkin, at one point happily exclaims "We're going to be in the movie version of Cats!" I think David would rather snack on broken glass than be in the movie - or any other - version of Cats. Now that's acting.

In Significant Others, the one-act that David and I will be performing at the Silver Spring Stage one-act festival (first weekend, August 16 - 19), there is not really a "now that's acting" moment, but there is one bit that for people who know the both of us is somewhat unlikely. The run of dialogue goes something like this:

Husband: I have disclosed everything that I have.
Wife: Except for your stock options.
Husband: Which have no value until they're sold.
Wife: They have net asset value. I keep track of it every day. I know the value of your holdings better than you do.

The chance that I would know something that contained numbers better than David is pretty small. And the chance that I would know something regarding finance better than David is vanishingly small.

On the flip side are what I call "no acting required" moments and we have one of those in Significant Others as well. Sometimes talking with my beloved is like testifying in a Congressional hearing as he does a simultaneous fact check on my decidedly trivial conversation, and thus this dialogue was probably written as Steve followed us around and took notes:

Wife: We are on the veranda, consorting ...
Husband: Is this a veranda?
Wife: For our purposes, it is.
Husband: Are we consorting?
Wife: You bet we are.

No acting required. None.

My project after Significant Others is called Taking Leave and I'll play the pain-in-the-butt eldest sister. I leave it as an exercise for the reader as to whether that will be an NTA or an NAR performance.

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