Show Off Part Two

Went to a second actors showcase today: this time for the New York Film Academy. This involved getting from my internship in El Segundo to the NYFA building in Burbank at rush hour, which was an exercise in diversion and detour, but otherwise unremarkable. I arrived early enough to eat something and read a few pages of my book before going in.

Having just attended the showcase for USC it was interesting to make a back to back comparison of the presentations. To try to say that one was better than the other would be an apples to oranges judgment, but there were some notable differences. For one, the NYFA showcase involved both live performance and on screen performances for each of the actors which was informative: some of the actors stood out in live performance but not quite as distinctively on screen- and vice versa. Other times it was interesting to see the range of characters between a comedy on stage or a dramatic character on screen, etc. I learned that I don’t find the singing performances to be very useful- they tend to be performances of technical skill and range instead of performances of emotional stories so I kind of check out and wait for them to be over.

In this showcase, the actors sat along the sides of the stage even of they weren’t In the scene being performed. I discovered that it was useful to keep a eye on them to see how they responded to a performance- were they active listeners? Did they shut down? Was the material affecting them? Presumably they had seen it before- was it still alive to them? It was interesting to see which actors would go from complete impassiveness to dynamic ( but typically precise) performances and which ones were always “on” as listeners.

Which made me realize that every performance builds a certain amount of gravity which draws the eye. In some scenes, this would be the speaker, in others out would be the listener. The stronger performance always wins. It’s unfortunate when that performer isn’t the one who is supposed to be carrying the scene and it’s simply delightful when both actors are fairly evenly matched because there’s a constant energy ping-ponging back and forth.

So that was my evening. Tomorrow I get to attend a different kind of showcase: a one man show. This will mean that I’ve seen more live theatre in these three days than in the last three years! Got to enjoy it while it lasts.


~ by Gwydhar Gebien on April 28, 2016.

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