This week, Lyn Gardner wrote of an experience she had at the Forest Fringe: “I had one of those moments in the theatre when it feels as if you have seen something that was made just for you. They don’t happen often, but when they do, it is as if the artist has glimpsed inside your heart and mind, and made a gift just for you. One that you will carry with you…But it isn’t the case that such a performance will speak to other people in the same way it speaks to you…art isn’t fixed, it’s malleable, plastic and shape-shifting.”
The flexibility and spontaneity that theatre offers an actor is also the reason why actors who are preparing for television or film roles come to Audition Doctor. The live response to their work and artistic choices are an important part of the development of their craft.
In an interview about Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke mentioned: “Some actors have a plan: “This is what I’m going to achieve in this scene” and you can usually smell it which means you’re not watching creativity but a kind of re-creativity. Like “I cry on this line” and sometimes it’s quite good. But with Robin, he had no idea what was going to happen….All the best performers I’ve ever worked with create their own vibration of spontaneity.”
However, Hawke was also quick to say that spontaneity only emerged out of a wealth of preparation and attention to detail.
“Peter Weir used to say that the difference between being good and great is like one twist of the screw but it’s the hardest one to do…so much rehearsal, so much thought needs to go into the tiniest gesture that ultimately needs to be spontaneous and can’t even be planned out.”
Audition Doctor offers this level of both research and rehearsal, which consequently often gives rise to the twist in the screw that Weir speaks of. Furthermore, the engagement of heart as well as head that the sessions encourage mean that the character you create is true to the text.
Hawke said in the same interview: [Every kind of art, not just acting] is like a sailboat, Every true moment, every beautiful thing, every honest thought puts wind in the sail. Every fake moment every cheat, every lie is a little tear. If you have a few tears, the ship will still move. But to make The Godfather…there’s got to be no tears. How many can we get rid of? How much truth can we put in the sail? If we can do that we can make something really beautiful.”
Actors come to Audition Doctor because they find that the more sessions they attend, the fewer tears there are in their performance. Getting rid of them takes regular practice and commitment, however, students find that it pays off because they put themselves in the position where they are closer to giving an audience the experience that Gardner speaks of.