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Acting Naturally

Richard's Writings > Acting Naturally > Working with directors, technicians, other actors

Synopsis of Working with directors, technicians, other actors

Actors are the peons in the theater world. We work with lots of technical 'experts.' I explore that relationship in this chapter, including the relationship between actors, as below.

Excerpt from Working with directors, technicians, other actors

Leave to the experts the lighting, and the costumes, and the sets, and so on, and they in turn should not comment on your acting, or lack thereof. Even the actors should never comment on their fellow cast members' acting. One can tell a newcomer because only a newcomer would be itching to tell another actor how a line should be said, to "explain" how it can be done better. We sometimes go to each other for advice and instruction, but it should never be given unsolicited. Of course, the exception to this is the director - the director is allowed to do anything he wants, basically.

But tradition says that the rehearsal process is a time when actors are supposed to experiment, to risk poor selections simply to see if something works or not - and this process is inhibited if you feel your fellow actors are judging your every nuance. And even if we are watching closely, we're a very forgiving lot, especially in the cause of experimentation. The director alone is supposed to correct bad acting - or not. If not, it's not for us to say otherwise.

Sometimes, though, I take a person aside to tell them what I need from them in order to do my job. For example: "I need you to interrupt me harshly, don't wait, and it must be harsh, to justify my reaction of surprise and wounded feelings" - something like that. The actors have the ultimate responsibility, and challenge, to get the job done, and so they do confer.


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