chapter  7
5 Pages

Lecture 10

What I want to tell you is how to apply what I spoke to you about last time to the actual performance. You have heard me tell you about the professional will, the will which the actor must have, which the sailor has, which anyone with a definite goal must have. It is something which makes you “want to do.” This is just to remind you about it. And now you have before you a part, which is part of the play. You have the part, which is something which is your goal at present. Now this is an element, just as oxygen is an elemental part of the air and the air is much more important than the oxygen itself. The action – that means doings, achievements – is the foundation of

dramatic art. It is that which makes a performance. The actor is not only doing the things, he is acting. The word “acting” is strong – to act, not to play. Playing or performing is a wrong term. The term acting is very significant. Only the English language has the word “act”; others have “to perform,” “to play,” “to show,” and I stress this – you must understand the performance as acting. In the actual life, or in nature, which is the source of every art, whe-

ther old, modern, or stylized, are the roots of every art. In nature you will see that there is not a single moment when you do not act. If you will pay a little attention to yourself, watch yourself through the day, you will realize that every moment of your life you are acting. You get up early in the morning; you think what you will do throughout the day; you decide – you act. You wash yourself, you breakfast, etc. If you will go through your life, you will realize there is not a single moment when you do not act, even when you are tired and want to rest, you act. This is very important; please do not forget it. When you see a good actor you will realize what he is doing, what

he is thinking. Even if you see an actor who does not care about his partners, but simply talks to the audience, you will realize that he is explaining the word, the jokes; he is putting them across. He is acting

the foundation of that I am for naturalism, for realism, or for the art of photography, but I do mean the words must be real. Every one of you have experienced something probably that if you saw

in pictures, you would not believe to exist. You see a character in real life and you say it would be impossible on the stage. But the stage exists for those “impossible things.” The word “acting” is very confusing. You imagine you must do

something with your hands, your face, with a property. Let us give you a very simple example. You are thirsty and ask someone to give you a glass of water. You will ask in a certain way. Again, you are a designer and want a glass of water. Again, your relative has fainted, and you ask someone to give you a glass of water. Would you say that the action would be the same in all these circumstances? No. The words will be the same, the gesture might be the same; perhaps the intonation would be the same. But something else inside of you, that “acting” which I am talking about, will be very different in every case. This acting is what I care for. If you will develop yourself so that it will be clear as to that feeling inside, just as clear as you would know how to ask for a glass of water or a barrel of gasoline, this will be your technique. Now the intention – and attention – of the actor seems to be stressed on the intonation. Someone will tell you, you do not ask loud enough, or nervously enough, etc. What does that mean? I don’t know. Nervousness is an action, just as much as anything else. I am not talking about a pathological case, but just simply natural human beings. I tried to show you what brings action into your hearts by using that

peculiar uncommon memory I spoke to you about, so that if you have in your part the action of asking someone to give you a glass of water for a fainting relative, or a glass of water to clean a strawberry stain on a white dress, you will get the right kind of acting. In developing memory of feeling, use even little things in such a way that it will be your very own. You can use anything in nature, you can use animals. From animals you can get the best, because they are so simple, so clean-cut. But a good beggar, for example, can be an actor when he is standing on the corner. He is cold 50 percent, but the other 50 percent is to impress the people that go by – to “touch” them. The place I would suggest to get memory of feeling would be the theatre – from actors. You may take the technique, the tricks, the outside things – “how to do” – but do not take the emotions, because they are artificially produced. Through the repetition of these, you will not develop anything of your very own. It would be like raising a hothouse plant; it would stop your own natural growth.