Is Acting a Lie?

 

So many people tell me they think acting is about lying and pretending to be something you're not.  In truth, I believe acting is the process of unearthing the elements in yourself that echo in the character you're playing.  I think we're all capable of many things that we may not need to apply to our everyday lives.  For example, I may never have to sweep the love of my life off of his feet.  However, I am capable of that.  Conversely, I may never have to kill someone (I hope).  Am I capable of both of these things?  Youbetcha!

Acting is about telling the truth from the point of view of the character.  If I play Hitler, I have to believe that I'm helping all of these people by either annihilating them or recruiting them.  If I take the point of view of an audience member who has a deep moral hatred toward this idea, I can't play Hitler or any other person/character with whom I have an objection.

Keeping in mind that acting is "living truthfully under imaginary circumstances," I want to make big choices to provoke an audience to THINK - during and after my performance.  If I don't play controversial characters, I don't have the ability to make people think.  Even more interesting is if the audience LIKES an otherwise detestable character.  Choices the character makes may be objectionable while the audience still roots for the character.  That's some great theatre!  And aren't we all complex?  Can we be relegated to cut and dry answers when most morality is ambiguous?

When deciding on the roles you choose in life or on stage, lead with your humanity.  By exploring the character of yourself and the role you're playing, you'll be able to understand yourself better while making big choices for the character.  Be BOLD!!!

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