"The Great Guskin" (John Lahr, The New Yorker) shares the approach he uses to help actors land roles, develop them, and keep them alive
Harold Guskin is an "acting doctor" whose clients include Kevin Kline, Glenn Close, James Gandolfini, Bridget Fonda, and dozens more. In How to Stop Acting, Guskin reveals the insights and techniques that have worked wonders for beginners as well as stars. Instead of yet another "method," Guskin offers a strategy based on a radically simple and refreshing idea: that the actor's work is not to "create a character" but rather to be continually, personally responsive to the text, wherever his impulse takes him, from first read-through to final performance. From this credo derives an entirely new perspective on auditioning and the challenge of developing a role and keeping it fresh, even over hundreds of performances. Drawing on examples from his clients' work and his own, Guskin presents acting as a constantly evolving exploration rather than as a progression toward a fixed goal. He also offers sound and original advice on adapting to the particular demands of television and film, playing difficult emotional scenes, tackling the Shakespearean and other great roles, and more. His book will find an eager and appreciative audience among novices and established actors alike.
"Sinopsis" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.
Harold Guskin has worked with dozens of stage and screen actors and is himself an actor and director. He lives in New York City with his wife, the playwright and screenwriter Sandra Jennings.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
How to Stop Acting
1 TAKING IT OFF THE PAGE "I'm basically a shy person, and I can get as shy in front of a character that I have been hired to inhabit as I can in front of an actual breathing human being. A lot of what we worked on when we first got together was getting through my shyness in relationship to the character whose words had to come out of my mouth."
Actors come to me for all sorts of reasons, at every stage of their careers. Matt Dillon came to me for the first time with a stack of research he'd done for his role in Drugstore Cowboy. Christopher Reeve came at a low point, showing the courage to rediscover himself in his work. James Gandolfini continued to examine Tony Soprano with me in The Sopranos' second and third seasons, after a hugely successful first year. Glenn Close came because of a problem with auditioning. Glenn says: You have to force yourself to get through that barrier of shyness--to force the words out, to speak them--so you can slowly start getting beyond that and into the character. That kind of training has stood me in great stead. You find yourself on a movie set doing a scene and you know you're not there. At that moment,I have learned to say, "Don't lose courage. Just keep leaping out there. Be able to make a fool of yourself." And because you've not gotten frightened, and you haven't retreated from the moment, if you persevere, you'll find it. I think those early days of me sitting in your living room and forcing myself to say words that I had no idea how to say--getting them out, flinging them out, throwing them out--was like breaking some sort of sound barrier, giving me freedom on the other side. In the conventional view, the actor's work on the character begins with his reading the script for himself and then talking about the character and text with the director. The problem with this approach is that from the beginning of the process it places the actor outside the script, and outside the character. And being outside the script and the character means that the actor is fundamentally outside himself--outside of the instinct, feelings, imagination, and fantasy life necessary to conceive the character creatively. He may arrive at an extremely sophisticated understanding of the character that nevertheless leaves him utterly confused about how to put his analysis into action. That is because reading the script is an intellectual process that inevitably leads the actor to approach both character and script as we have been taught in school--in an analytical way. Whether it's Stanislavskian analysis or some sort of literary analysis, it leads the actor to think about the character rather than instinctively to try out different possibilities for the character. In fact, analysis tends to make the actor afraid of trusting his instinct. It leads to doubts about whether his mind is crisp enough to grasp quickly enough the character's central needs in life or his desires in a particular scene, as Stanislavski instructs. Analysis weakens the actor. Glenn Close, one of the most intelligent actors I know, told me, "I don't pride myself on being able to read a script really well.There are some people who can sit down and really analyze it and get its full value immediately, but it takes me a while." Analysis is not really what actors are good at, although most really good actors are quite smart. It should be left to literary scholars and critics. Actors are about feelings, imagination, and improvisation. They are good at becoming other people. Their instinct is their talent. The more they trust their instinct, the more inspired and inspiring their performances become. That is when they surprise us, even startle us. That is what the audience goes to see. It's not that intellect is unimportant. It's just not where the actor's work starts. I believe that it's not until the actor is actually verbalizing the words of the character that his real work in acting begins. No matter how experienced or inexperienced he is, the most important thing for him to do is to connect himself to the text--to the dialogue, to the words. At that moment, he has connected himself to the character in a real way--even a physical way, as the words come out of his mouth. If he is able truly to speak the character's dialogue, rather than to read or recite it, he is in fact inside the character's head. He will feel free with the dialogue and the choices it provokes. His fear of finding the character will diminish. If he can be in the moment, in the script, and in himself at the same time--floating with the line--his instincts and the script will take him where he needs to go. If the actor can connect in a personal and instinctive way to the words his character speaks, moment by moment, at the very outset of his work, then he will begin his exploration from within the character. The actor has to start from his visceral response to the material. This is why he must reject intellectual choices at the beginning of his work. He must allow himself to be in an exploratory state, unsure of what he is going to do; this forces him to trust his initial responses to the dialogue, regardless of how absurd or contrary they may seem. If he is analytical, his intellect will stifle these reactions. But the moment when the words must come out of the actor's mouth is always the most fearful, as Glenn Close so vividly describes. It's the ultimate showdown. And because it is so daunting, the actor does what he can to avoid or postpone it, even when he says the words aloud. Each time he picks up a new script and starts to read it out loud, he is tempted to "make it real." By real, he inevitably means conversational or natural or casual. If the actor is a quick study and what is considered in the business a "good reader," he will make the dialogue sound as if it's real even while he has his nose buried in the text. That seems like the smart thing to do. The problem is, it's a useless thing to do because the actor is approximating, no matter how deftly, a realistic line reading--that is, how the dialogue might go. And in the process, he is establishing rhythms and choices he doesn't even know he wants. He's imitating the way he thinks it should go, and before long he may find himself stuck in those line readings and those choices without being aware of it. At best, he'll have to break the pattern in order to feel free and to find fresh responses, real responses. When an actor comes to work with me, I want real, fresh responses from the beginning. So whether he's a seasoned actor taking on his umpteenth major role, or a young actor just starting out, we begin the same way. We go back to the barre, like a ballet dancer, starting from zero with a simple but effective exercise that allows the actor to discover or rediscover the foundation of acting through the text, with no preconceptions of how to play the role. I call this process taking it off the page. Here's how it works: The actor looks down at the phrase and breathes in and out while he reads the words to himself, giving himself time to let the phrase into his head. Then he looks up from the page and says the line, no longer reading but speaking. Taking your time to breathe in and out while you look down atthe page to read the phrase for yourself allows you to access whatever unconscious thoughts or images it evokes. It doesn't matter what comes up--however trivial, simple, deep, or apparently unrelated it is--as long as it is your actual response at the time, and not what you think is appropriate. The point is to let the dialogue bounce around in your unconscious, a bit like in the Freudian concept of word association in which the psychoanalyst says a word and the patient responds with whatever word comes to mind, before he can censor it. The actor is accessing his unconscious self, surprising himself with his unconscious response, in much the same way. As soon as you exhale, say the phrase before you have a chance to censor whatever thought or feeling surfaces. Don't deaden the line by trying to be sincere. Just say what you mean, no matter how startling, stupid, frightening, funny, touching, irreverent, or boring. Exhaling before you speak ensures that it is your own voice that you are using, not a phony, artificially projected actor's voice. It is the way we all speak when we are not acting. Once the feeling has surfaced and been expressed, feel free to drop it so that the next line can take you to a new place. Actors often hold on to a feeling or thought that's working, out of fear that they'll have nothing else to replace it that will be as good. But the truth is, holding on to the thought or feeling evoked by one line limits the possible range of responses the next line can elicit; letting go leaves room for something new to arise. That's what exploration is all about. Often actors are afraid they won't have a feeling for the writer's line. And sometimes the honest response to a line is, I don't feel or think anything. If so, that's what you must say--with the writer's words. Surprisingly, that response is as good and useful as any other. That's because it is a truthful response. In real life, we often don't know what we feel or think, or whether we have a responseat all. It takes courage to admit to yourself that you don't really have any feelings about something. Even more courage is needed to avoid manufacturing a false feeling to please those around you. This admission is not only important, it's essential! Nothing is powerful when admitted in front of an audience or a camera. Doing nothing puts the audience on notice that the person in front of us is real. I am not manufacturing feelings and thoughts because it's expected of me, he is saying. His no-response makes him more dangerous, unsocialized, surprising. We don't know what he may do next. This makes the actor interesting. One of the reasons people love James Gandolfini's portrayal of Tony Soprano is that it's filled with a lot of unusual responses and unexpected choices. People often assume this comes from a process of breaking down the script and selecting from among his responses in advance. But in fact, when I work with Jim, often the most important thing he does is to admit that he doesn't know what he feels about a scene or a moment. By accepting this and allowing himself to do nothing, he is making himself available to the surprising and unpredictable responses that follow. The beginning actor will also discover that if he has no feeling one moment, he will find himself angry or frustrated or saddened or amused the next moment. And it will probably be a big feeling. An actor doing nothing is doing a great deal. Think of the end of The Grapes of Wrath. Ma Joad asks Tom, "But Tommy--how will I know where you are?" And Henry Fonda (as Tom) answers, "Wherever there are cops beating on fellas, I'll be there, Ma ..." Recalling this classic moment, Peter Fonda told me, "My father stayed with his Nebraska cadence. He hardly blinked and he just read the words as simple and flat and straight as it could be. Thinking back on it, had he put any dramatic spin on it, facial or verbal or tonal, those words would have been the corniest words in the world." Doing this--doing nothing--allowed the truth of that moment to emerge powerfully. Don't get too exacting about how much text to take off the page at a time. You may pick up a phrase or a whole line or even a couple of short lines at once. Do whatever your instinct tells you, or choose arbitrarily. In fact, breaking the normal rhythms of your speech can make you more open to characters with different, new, and unexpected rhythms. But what matters most is that you say what you mean, whatever that is. Most important of all, don't be careful! These are your lines, your images, your thoughts. Don't think of taking it off the page as a technique so much as a commonsense way to start your work. The exploration you are beginning is going to become the character. Because you are within the script, anything you do could be or could become the character. You are in a state of discovery triggered by the only thing we know for sure about the character--what the character says. This leaves you free to try anything that comes to you. Let me show you how taking it off the page works in practice. Suppose I am starting my work on Michael Weller's play Loose Ends, in the role of Paul. The play opens with the monologue on the following page. The first line is, "It was great at the beginning." I look down at the page and read the line to myself while taking a breath in and out. At another time, or for another actor, it might conjure up, say, the beginning of a relationship that has since broken up, but right now it evokes in me the memory of directing my first play as a graduate student, with Kevin Kline and the Vest Pocket Players. We were so young and everything was ahead of us. I look up from the page and say the line, relishing the memory. If I trust myself, I won't have to do anything but say the line, and my response will be visible. I won't have to add anything. Noone will know the specifics of what I'm thinking, because I say only the line Weller wrote. But if I trust myself to just say it, the line will be full. Most actors don't trust themselves to just say it, however. They don't trust that what they are thinking or feeling is enough. They want to do something with the line. They want to show us their thought or feeling. From Loose Ends by Michael Weller ( Five Plays. New York: New American Library, 1982.)
SCENE 1 Slide: 1970. A beach. Night. Full moon. Waves. On bare stage, Paul and Susan, early to mid-20's, naked, clothes around. He sits facing ocean (us) and she lies curled up.
PAUL. It was great at the beginning. I could speak the language almost fluently after a month and the people were fantastic. They'd come out and help us. Teach us songs. Man, we thought it was all going so well. But we got all the outhouses dug in six months and we had to stay there two years, that was the deal. And that's when we began to realize that none of the Nglele were using the outhouses. We'd ask them why and they'd just shrug. So we started watching them very carefully and what we found out was the Nglele use their feces for fertilizer. It's like gold to them. They thought we were all fucking crazy expecting them to waste their precious turds in our spiffy new outhouses. Turns out they'd been helping us because they misunderstood why we were there. They thought it was some kind of punishment and we'd be allowed to go home after we finished digging the latrines, that's why they were helping us and then when we stayed on they figured we must be permanent outcasts or something and they just stopped talking to us altogether. I want the actor to say what he means at that moment, with as little fuss as possible. He must let the line of the character become his own line, in a completely personal way, so he is not acting it.He must forget about the author's intention at first, because the actor doesn't know who the character is at this point, or what the author really wants. The actor is responsible only for what the line means to him right now, and what it creates in him. And so he must say only what he means, without embellishing it or fixing it up. I look down and take another breath in and out while reading the next phrase: "I could speak the language almost fluently." I don't force myself to read the whole line. I let...
"Sobre este título" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.
Descripción Faber & Faber 2003-01-01, 2003. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Paperback. Publisher overstock, may contain remainder mark on edge. Nº de ref. de la librería 9780571199990B
Descripción MacMillan Publishers. Estado de conservación: New. Brand New. Nº de ref. de la librería 0571199992
Descripción 2003. PAP. Estado de conservación: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Nº de ref. de la librería VV-9780571199990
Descripción Estado de conservación: New. Depending on your location, this item may ship from the US or UK. Nº de ref. de la librería 97805711999900000000
Descripción Farrar, Straus and Giroux, United States, 2003. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. First.. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The Great Guskin (John Lahr, The New Yorker) shares the approach he uses to help actors land roles, develop them, and keep them alive Harold Guskin is an acting doctor whose clients include Kevin Kline, Glenn Close, James Gandolfini, Bridget Fonda, and dozens more. In How to Stop Acting, Guskin reveals the insights and techniques that have worked wonders for beginners as well as stars. Instead of yet another method, Guskin offers a strategy based on a radically simple and refreshing idea: that the actor s work is not to create a character but rather to be continually, personally responsive to the text, wherever his impulse takes him, from first read-through to final performance. From this credo derives an entirely new perspective on auditioning and the challenge of developing a role and keeping it fresh, even over hundreds of performances. Drawing on examples from his clients work and his own, Guskin presents acting as a constantly evolving exploration rather than as a progression toward a fixed goal. He also offers sound and original advice on adapting to the particular demands of television and film, playing difficult emotional scenes, tackling the Shakespearean and other great roles, and more. His book will find an eager and appreciative audience among novices and established actors alike. Nº de ref. de la librería BTE9780571199990
Descripción Farrar, Straus and Giroux. PAPERBACK. Estado de conservación: New. 0571199992 *BRAND NEW* Ships Same Day or Next!. Nº de ref. de la librería NATARAJB1FI833706
Descripción Faber & Faber, 2003. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería BKTY9780571199990
Descripción Faber & Faber. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Paperback. 208 pages. Dimensions: 8.1in. x 5.4in. x 0.6in.Harold Guskin is an Acting Doctor whose clients include David Suchet, Glenn Close, James Gandolfini, Bridget Fonda and dozens more. In HOW TO STOP ACTING he reveals the insights and techniques that have worked wonders for beginners as well as stars. Instead of yet another method, Guskin offers a strategy based on a radically simple and refreshing idea: that the actors work is not to create a character but rather to be continually, personally responsive to the text, wherever his impulse takes him, from the first read-through to the final performance. From this credo derives an entirely new perspective on auditioning and the challenge of developing a role and keeping it fresh, even over hundreds of performances. Drawing on examples from his clients work and his own, Guskin presents acting as a constantly evolving exploration rather than as a progression toward a fixed goal. He also offers sound and original advice on adapting to the particular demands of television and film, playing difficult emotional scenes, tackling Shakespearean and other great roles. The Great Guskin - John Lahr, The New Yorker Reading Harold Guskins book HOW TO STOP ACTING was like someone slowly removing handcuffs that have been on for a very long time. A method of working was given to me at drama school and with a few variations, here and there, has served me well for thirty-five years. More recently, however, I wanted to be free of a way of working and Harolds approach to acting was the much-needed key to the freedom that I wanted. I was influenced by Stanislavsky and Method acting, often feeeling guilty if I failed to use them in the studying of my script and in the development of a character! Applying Harolds HOW TO STOP ACTING has allowed me to work much more freely and instinctively and therefore more truthfully and being truthful has always been, for me, the ultimate goal. Thank you Harold! David Suchet This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Nº de ref. de la librería 9780571199990
Descripción Faber & Faber, 2003. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX0571199992
Descripción Farrar, Straus and Giroux. PAPERBACK. Estado de conservación: New. 0571199992 Special order direct from the distributor. Nº de ref. de la librería ING9780571199990