Wednesday, April 10, 2013

There is No Role

There is no spoon. Or for us, there is no role. At least not yet.

We play a character during an audition, when we're called in and at that moment a callback does not exist, for anyone. Not for us. Not for the auditors. Not for any other actor. One can argue there is the potential for one, the potential for a callback, but why do that.

There is the potential for Godzilla to start stomping the city you're in during your audition too. And the potential for the project to get canceled, lose its funding, go into turn-around and never have any callbacks. Pretend I inserted here a discussion of infinite quantum possibility.

So during an audition, there is no role. In fact even on set, there isn't a role. No role yet in a being-watched-by-the-audience sense, at least not beyond whomever is watching in video village or live on set. So don't focus all of your attention on a void, a non-thing, a total lack.

Sure, we all want, and work, and plan for our work to come to full fruition, and there is nothing wrong with that. As long as one remembers that a good way to make God (or the universe) laugh is to make plans, one should plan. Do laundry, put money in savings, do your acting preparation. But between action and cut, there is no moment after now, only now.

Yes, our characters plan, fixate on the not-right-now in all sorts of ways. Chekhov's make a habit of lamenting the past that's gone (and may never have actually happened) and hoping for a different future they all too often do nothing to bring about. Sometimes Arthur Miller's react to now in the name of what-they-think-will-be-a-better tomorrow. Shakespeare's can synthesize an epoch in a sentence or scheme and cross-dress to get a satisfying denouement.

But the actor, between action and cut, has nothing to work on, nothing to fixate upon beyond the now. Sure, maybe you know that a given phrase is at a "7" because later in the story the character hits their "10" but also know and remember that right now, at that instant and as you play, the "7" is all that needs to happen, all that exists.

A short version of this might be:

This can involve creative flow.

Staying in the present moment often is something any near death experience can also do. Though I seriously don't recommend courting near death experiences as a working technique. You may have already had one that you can remember, and draw from.

Do what you do, what you need to do, what needs doing, right now, in this moment. The next moment you'll take care of when you get there. Act now, and have fun.

If you stop worrying about the outcomes, you will achieve a better outcome

(from Following Your Bliss, Right Off the Cliff).

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this posted by David August at 3:34 PM 

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