Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The Great Acting Blog: "The Actor's Life Should Be A Challenge"


A challenge is a thing which is difficult but doable, it must be within your control to do it – ie; if you knuckle down and apply your skills and apply the tools at your disposal, then, mixed with a bit of hard graft, you may accomplish the thing. The thing should be tough enough so that at the point of commitment, one thinks twice and would rather do anything other than the thing being committed to. Similarly, the task should be tough enough so that at intermittent times, it invites you to quit - “hard luck kid, you gave it your best shot”, and the kid goes back to wherever he came from. So a challenge is a test of nerve, a test of will, how you respond when the going gets tough. A true challenge invites us to improve ourselves and is rewarding when we knuckle down and dig a little deeper within ourselves, and even when we finally do accomplish the thing, even though we may be exhausted, it makes us stronger, and we feel that sense of accomplishment. Why? Because we applied ourselves to the task, falling short sometimes but coming back at it nonetheless, and, piece-by-piece, we got the thing done.

We love a fluke because it means somebody up there loves us, but nobody would want to live their life by them. Would they? In gambling you can study the form but it doesn't mean your numbers will come up, because ultimately we have no control over that. If the result is out of our control then, why do we feel anguish? Because we failed to get that momentary feeling of ecstasy, and we have lost what we have gambled, ie; money, time, self-respect.

Something which is impossible is not a challenge, it is merely impossible. What is not a challenge is trying to implement preposterous acting notes: relive that moment your puppy died, project your energy from your knee-caps, become Hamlet. Try and try and try as we might, we may never accomplish any of these things, or perhaps, like the lucky citizen who wins a tenner on the lottery after years of playing, we manage to delude ourselves, if only for a fleeting moment, that we did actually become Hamlet, that we forgot who we really were, and this moment generates an excitement all out of proportion with the actual accomplishment (if it can be called an accomplishment), as does the £10 lottery win. However, when the dust settles, and we are due to go on stage the following night, we may find, just before we are about to make our first entrance, that we cannot become Hamlet – but what happened to last night's magic, that glorious moment when we literally transmorphed into somebody else (if only for a fleeting moment)? Of course we never did transmorph into Hamlet, it's impossible, and when that dawns on us, we feel as empty and as worthless as the gambler who placed his chips on red, only for it to come up black. We invested ourselves in the gods, and they failed to deliver on our behalf. Was that moment of ecstasy worth it? No because it was hollow and superficial, whereas the deliberate, hard-fought victory is rewarding.

Transmorphing into Hamlet is no more a challenge than winning the Lottery is a challenge, but at least with the Lottery you've got a 12 million to one shot, although nobody ever lived their lives by those odds. Who knows what the odds on the survival of each individual actor are. Why not eradicate the odds and the gods altogether, and give yourself over to those things which are challenging but doable. It's nice to have a bit of luck sometimes, when something out of our control goes our way, but we cannot wait around hoping that will happen. The thing to do, is to knuckle down, decide what is within our to accomplish, and set about our task.


No comments:

Post a Comment