chapter  6
8 Pages

Lesson 9

Question: What is the difference between emotion and emotionalism? Answer: When I say emotionalism, I mean something related to the

affection – present, but which is moving without much reason. Emotion is something which comes and stays, the real thing, and a little bit unreal. Question: How can you distinguish between the two in acting? Answer: When you feel easy, when it isn’t a hardship and you don’t

have to pull yourself, it’s a real emotion. When you come to real tears without any effort, that’s real emotion. When you pinch yourself and work hard and get one tear, that’s emotionalism. It may move the audience. To chew the scenery is emotionalism, but to make it alive through acting is emotion. To play Hamlet and take the skull and feel about it is emotionalism,

but if you look seriously at it and get the feeling that that skull belonged to a friend of yours, you will get the real emotion. To get the feeling of sadness, think of a dead friend. Yesterday I tried to make you understand that peculiar and uncom-

mon memory which is the memory of feeling, without any exterior expression. You are just full of a certain feeling, and you are not required to play it or produce it, to act it again. If you can trace it in yourself, the feeling is like an echo, like a sound which was sung sometime before and comes now to you just as pure and crystal, but as a repetition, not artificial. The next important question is how to develop this memory of feeling

and common memory to such an extent that it will be and must be for an actor just as flexible and playable and practical as your common memory is. You understand that there is no use to know about it but to put it into practice. There is nothing that could aid but the same thing that is the same in every art, science, and trade; it’s a technique and practice and training and nothing else. Don’t think that you can get this

is that they think that you will be called talented or geniuses. IF you will be called there’s nothing you can do about it except prepare yourself and to build yourself up towards that position. Through the right understanding of what you are going after and through the right exercises, that peculiar and common memory, you will start – make the beginning of a tremendous experience which is absolutely necessary for the actor. There is no way to escape it. If one is to go unconsciously, like a man walking in darkness, working for twenty years and listen and fight in absolute darkness and try to build up intonation and then after sixteen or twenty years, or by accident, if you hit the part which is you yourself, you may catch it earlier. But that is an accident, and accident has nothing to do with art. There is no use to hunt for accidents. Now suppose, as I asked you, you have found and traced down one,

two, three cases of memory of feelings in yourself and you know how it feels to have that little thing when you recall some – [Page of original is missing.] Question: One step doesn’t seem necessary. Supposing I know all the

time that a blue sky makes me sad? Answer: Suppose you do know – put yourself into the terms of a

musician. He has eight notes and from these eight notes there are about 90,000 or 1,000,000 combinations. But he has only eight of them and he knows that “B” is “B” – but what he is looking for is the combination of that “B” with something else and then with something else, with the rest of them. The same thing with your feelings. You know it’s a blue sky, but then it isn’t the exact thing that you take and put into the part. You can use it over and over and it will be different in every case. For instance, playing Ophelia, your sadness will be a certain kind. That’s why it is necessary to go through these steps, checking-up emotionally and mentally, experiences from life because you never know when you are going to use these notes. How to characterize. Characterization to the actor is just like for the

designer the kind of paper he puts his design on. The emotion or the spark which moves the audience is something which belongs to you. If you play any part – flapper or old woman – the emotion is yours and stays with you. It is your gold capital which stays in the bank, it is something that stays in you and you should not spend it. Question: How can we remember all those different things when we

have cues, etc., to think of? Answer: After being technically developed, there won’t be any diffi-

culty to remember the business or physical characterization. It takes no

can remember were trained very many times playing in crowds at the Moscow Art. We played year after year, every day, and rehearsing in the day time and we were used in the crowd and among 50 or 100 people; you would remember a certain cue that you would have to be in the middle of the stage, etc. It was sometimes much more complicated business than the leading parts which were quite simple and on account of that training which we got in our young days, it’s nothing for me to remember the business of the whole crowd. It is just technique. Question: What do you call inner characterization related to acting? Answer: Example – Inner characterization of a stingy man, a miser.

What is a miser? A man who has tremendous love towards a certain thing – gold. And who doesn’t care about himself at all. A man who is very much on the lookout for danger. You decide that you have it for inner characterization. Now you go to your emotions and you look at a piece of gold, and you say, “It’s a piece of tin, and I have to love and almost worship it.” It doesn’t exist – it isn’t real – where will I get it? I go into my golden box (inside of you). What do I love? I will take a funny example. Suppose it’s a cold watermelon on a warm day. When I was so thirsty last summer, I just wanted a drink, and suppose you didn’t have a dime. You were almost ready to steal. Now the moment you start to think – watermelon – hot day – you will be full of your own emotion, which is similar to that stingy, greedy feeling of that money here. Now put it into action. Watermelon doesn’t exist and gold doesn’t exist. Maybe you would not feel that towards the real gold piece as you did feel towards the watermelon. Remember the next thing. Man doesn’t care about himself. Doesn’t care how he talks, dresses, and is indifferent. You can find cases where you were for a second like that. I was down and out but just the same I was always combed. Look on the outside and suddenly recall in Chicago at such and such a day, I saw a beggar in the streets and he just caught my attention with that absolute feeling of destruction around him, because the man was so neglectful about himself. You take the feeling – which you never experienced – from the outside through your eyes and you try exteriorly to copy that characterization – the dress will help you. Now the third thing is constant danger. What is constant danger and constant suspicion? There is no doubt

that you have experienced a strange noise in the night and you were looking for it and tried to sleep and then again it started. You can bring these things out like that. Now put together those three things and you have your characterization, using your own emotion. You have inner