If I Were Just An Acting Coach And This Was One Scene…

David and Cameron’s Fight Director’s Notes – July 12, 2011 (PM)

So we open in limited release in just a few weeks, and here’s what I’m seeing.

The David character is becoming, to use a cliché, cliché. Just beating up on Cameron for no reason is just tiresome to the audience at this point. You need to think more about the character’s motivation. Is there an internal monologue going on? Is this more about performance or sticking to the text? Because when the “either you’re lazy or you’re weak” line was delivered after Cameron refused to go outside with you, I wasn’t feeling it at all. There seems to be a distance between the actor and the character and this limits the relationship that the audience is able to have with the character. As the actor, you execute the physical universe for the journey, and it’s your responsibility to make others want to come along for the ride.

Conversely, the Cameron character’s role is becoming overblown. His emotive reactions conflict with David’s dry, implausible stage presence. Peter Brook says, “Art is a spinning wheel, rotating around a still centre which we can neither grasp nor define.” Cameron needs to rein in the, for lack of a better word, drama, in the scenes where David tries to antagonize him. By displaying such hysteria, the Cameron character becomes less and less sympathetic, and by default, the David character becomes a type of anti-hero that audiences root for, despite the playwright’s obvious intention that he be the antagonist.

It’s possible that Cameron became caught up in the momentum of the production, and that David, as this is certainly not the first time he’s performed this piece, has just become blasé about the role, either way, you both need to become more honest and authentic about your performances and add in a touch of mystery and newness or you risk alienating your audience altogether.

Thanks for being open-minded about the process. We’ll meet again tomorrow to rework the scene. Hopefully it will pop. In some ways I feel like I’m too close to the material to be objective, but I think that’s okay. I look forward to having others watch and share their perspectives. Good night.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011

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