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Adventures In Acting - Intimacy!


This month's collection of acting-related thoughts and feelings:

 

Afghan Girl
Taken by National Geographic Society photographer Steve McCurry during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Afghan Girl (whose real name is Sharbat Gula).


 

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”


Mark Twain - Writer of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer"


 

Intimacy - In Acting:


Intimacy!

INTIMACY!

Into me see!


"Intimacy is about truth. When you realize you can tell someone your truth, when you can show yourself to them, when you stand in front of them bare and their response is 'you're safe with me' – that's intimacy." - Taylor Jenkins Reid


As actors it seems to be part of the job to get comfortable with a certain type of heightened intimacy that is normally reserved for the most trusted individuals in ones life and usually behind closed doors.


Even if the scene or project in question requires you to have a nemesis or appear aloof there is still a sense of choosing how to respond to others as a mechanism to keep the feelings in, rather than a genuine indifference to your fellow actor(s) .


Maybe we choose what we show based on the most intimate feelings we feel?


"Intimacy is not purely physical. It's the act of connecting with someone so deeply, you feel like you can see into their soul." - Rashida Rowe


To consistently create that default state of connection and familiarity is a real skill I believe.


I do recognise there is a perceived risk in being that open to another human, the act of deeply caring or being affected by someone else is sometimes quite a vulnerable thing to do.


Maybe it's no coincidence that actors often fall in love with their co-stars or you hear about some on screen chemistry that was in reality quite tense and not that friendly.


There is a trust involved in working in this way.

A love even.

At least respect and permission to "do to me as you wish" (within the confines of the text and given relationship"


Thankfully, Intimacy is now becoming more coordinated and understood in the professional environment.

We have trained people who can hold that space for actors and performers to really feel free to let loose and explore the boundaries of the work in a safe way.


With your fellow partners permission and consent we have a wonderful opportunity to really let your freak flag fly!!


"Intimacy is the capacity to be rather weird with someone – and finding that that's okay with them." - Alain de Botton


Remember also that we are essentially advanced pretenderers, this intimacy we feel in the professional capacity is very close to, but not the same as the quality of attention that we have in our lives outside of these slices of life between "action" and "cut" or curtain up and curtain down.


Stay weird weirdos!

and

Stay Playful People!


 

We did a thing !:


Adventures in Acting has just run our first 2 week Screen Acting workshop.


It was an incredible ride with 6 supremely talented actors.

Cecile Sinclair, Lene Kqiku, Jason Wilson, Leonie Frazier, Philip Wolffe, Holli Dillon.


Scenes were written by Mark AC Brown based on the exercise we ran in the first weekend of the workshop, then the scenes were filmed by the excellent Kieran Coyle on the last day.


Due to the success of this course we will be running another in May 2024.

To be considered please email: Connect@tomsawyeractor.co.uk




 

What's my motivation?


This month's scene is from "Anatomy of a fall" chosen by the fabulous actor, writer, film maker and friend Harry MacQueen.

Harry worked with Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci in his second feature film Supernova which he wrote and directed.


Harry says about the scene:


"This scene explores a relationship in flux and dives into the complex questions of coexistence and, of course, love itself.

Given that the scene goes to some dark places, for an actor, the calibration of the performance is absolutely critical here. Ultimately, we should empathise with both characters, even though they express some very challenging things in very provocative ways."


Click on the video link below and then check my short interpretation underneath:

(Please be advised this scene contains very adult language)


The Oscar-winning Anatomy of a Fall is a gripping thriller about a suspicious death. Anatomy of a Fall revolves around a marriage under scrutiny, a possible suicide, and a blind witness.


This scene has exploded on social media!

Before having seen the film I must have watched this scene more than ten times.

It's electrifyingly raw and emotional.

At 42 seconds this will probably be the shortest ever "What's my motivation" clip but I honestly feel I could write or talk about it for hours.


We will obviously focus on Sandra Hüller here (playing Sandra!).

Samuel Theis (playing Daniel) is mostly on the receiving end of this, not so gentle, sharing in this video but he plays his part perfectly.


Sandra will from now be referred to as "Sandy" because at times she looks pink and Sandra Dee was one of the "Pink Ladies" in the 1978 film "Grease" and as she falls for John Travolta's "Danny" in that film, this scene is how I imagine that relationship ends up and sometimes to over explain something is fun for me.


Sandy is in mid flow at the start of this clip.

There is so much brutally beautiful humanity here!


It is a perfect example of how an actor can connect to text.

The pent up frustration in every fibre of Sandy's being is present in her whole body, from the throbbing vein in her neck to her knees that eventually buckle from all the feeling.


What is endlessly fascinating for me is the restraint she shows.


We are mostly in the business of having heightened conversations as actors and the way this performance bubbles and erupts from a barely controlled pressure cooker of a chat to moments of popcorn like explosions of pure unfiltered rage is magical.


Side note:

I sometimes hear from actors who are working in a language that isn't their "mother tongue" how hard it is to fully connect to the words when acting them, it can feel as though the focus on the translation or the dictionary definition can leave the actor "in their head".

There is no quick fix for this obstacle but for me this performance is one that is hard proof that we really can dig deep down and anchor ourselves in the intention or human experience of whats being said and communicate that more than the individual words and how they should be delivered.


There is a trap that the actor often falls into with a script which is something like "How are these words supposed to be said?".

What it appears is happening here is a more effective way of approaching dialogue, which might be something like "How are these words supposed to be felt?".


With that said, if you really listen to the words that are virtually used punch and penetrate in this short slice of life:

Nothing!

Choose!

Afraid!

Pride!

Germ!

Blame!

F*cking!


Powerful prose, powerfully presented with passion and purpose.


Sandy seems to seamlessly slip from cleverly concealing the inner feeling to letting the feels spill out all over the room and drowning any unfortunate observer.


The emotion rises up from the toes and shows in the blood flowing to the face and erratic movements from bending to hands waving.


As well as a volcanic rage we also see the sadness of how this long overdue truth bomb is affecting the deliverer of this message.


Simple but effective.


Keep it real people!

 

Have a short scene you want to see analysed simply?

Click below to send link to scene:



 

Any acting related news or questions email me:


Thanks for your attention - stay playful people.


Tom


 

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