Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Power of the Actor by Ivana Chubbuck

Ivanna Chubbuck. The Power of the Actor: The Chubbock Technique. The Twelve Steps That Will Take You From Script to a Living, Breathing, Dynamic Character. New York: Gotham Books, 2004.

The author advances an acting technique where the actor channels emotions towards accomplishing the character’s goals. It is the convincing portrayal that distinguishes excellent actor from lesser portrayal achievement levels. the actors must understand what the character wants to accomplish and then tap into those emotions. A actor uses the actor’s own emotion yet presents the character’s emotions and objectives.

Chuddock recommends an actor discover the character’s scene objections and then portray these objections over an entire scene.  The actor should examine how the character handles objectives, channelling the actor’s own emotions that fit the character’s objectives, tap into the actor’ inner mind, consider beat thought and changes, be physically and emotionally prepared before a scene, use an one’s physical reality to sensibly be portrayed, handle props, costume, hair, etc appropriately, channel inner non-verbal monologue while performing, be consistent with the character’s past, and then create a real role.

Chubbock stresses that actors must use their emotions as a tool towards achieving good performances. If the emotions are what results, the actor is presenting the actor’s emotions rather than the character’s emotions. The character is what needs to be properly portrayed.

When an actor seeks  a character’s objective, the actor should seek that primal urgency that drives the character’s needs. The character’s overall objective is a simple one, and should be consistent throughout the story. An actor should have an objective that causes others to react.

Objectives should be about relationships. Communicating is important in reaching scene objectives. Every scene will always have a scene objective Obstacles to objectives create drama. Obstacles can be physical, mental, or emotional. An actormay create an obstacle not mentioned in the script.

Chubbock recommends substituting elements of an actor’s life, often involving subconscious feelings, and using these emotions when acting. Substitution is a tool and need not always be done each time. It should be used when it allows the actor to reach a catharsis about a role. Different substitutions can be tried in determining which works best.

The beats and actions in acting can become part of a scene objective and overall objective. Emotions should be tapped before performing a scene. This is a tool that can be changed just before a scene.

An actor should view the fourth wall as part of the history and reality of the scene.

It is important how an actor behaves in a role, including when using props. A characters words may be false, yet the actions should show the truth. The actions should accelerate as their importance increases. Acting is visual and actions can provide the audience with important clues. The actions must be consistent with the scene objective. Quirks can provide insights into characters. These can expose the neurosis a character faces.

An actor should consider inner dialogue and use it towards observing the scene objective. An actor should recall the previous circumstances and past emotions of the character.

An actor, having determined the scene objective, should “let it go” so behaviors occur freely.

The author advises, when auditioning, that one should listen to the dialogue, consider how to respond, and speak after consideration of the response. One should not rush the dialogue.

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