Thursday, July 05, 2007


How about a couple more theater videos then I'll lay it to rest for a bit? "Method Actor Boyfriend" (above) is a really terrible clip, even though it was probably fun to watch live. It's a skit about a girl who invites her method actor boyfriend to a party. The reason I put it up is that, flaws and all, it raises interesting questions about stage movement.

Looking at it, I wonder why the method guy fails to dominate the scene. The actor could be better but let's put that aside. The method guy shouts and has all the funny lines and yet his girlfriend is the one our eyes keep coming back to. Why is that? Why doesn't the method guy steal the show?

I'm not an actor so I can only guess at the answer, but it was probably a mistake to allow some of the party people to move around more than the the star. Also the background design and lighting might have directed attention better. The girlfriend is the best actor in the film and I think it would have been a mistake to deliberately diminish her role to make the boyfriend look good. If anything I would have given her a little more to do because she's such an interesting contrast to the guy.

It seems to me that what the boyfriend needed (apart from voice control)was better stage movement. When he leaned into the character he was threatening the two of them should have backed up for a couple of steps as if his glance had the power to push. He should have showed us the hand before he licked it. In short, he should have given more thought to his stage movement. The people reacting to him should also have paid more attention to theirs. I always thought animators would benefit from a careful study of live action stage movement.

Above is a short interview with Stanislavski himself! I'm amazed! I didn't know he was ever filmed. Well, he has charisma, you have to give him that. He completely dominated the interviewer without ever moving from his seat.

Here's (above) David Beckham talking to another actor who does a great imitation of Al Pacino. I love the rhythm these guys have going.


R. Banuelos said...

I've never heard of Stanislavski before but this guys cool. How do you be a good actor? Simple answer, don't be a bad actor. Or how do you kill a mouse, however makes the mouse dead. There's no method or anything, it's just straight simplicity. Too many people over theorizes art, but it really is very simple.

Good video.

R. Banuelos said...

I just saw the Boyfriend one, and I gotta say I didn't see it as his scene. I think the scene was more about everyone's reactions most importantly the girlfriend. I think that's why she is the dominant character, they needed a good actor for her role. The other actors should have been more responsive too. The boyfriend is very stoic in his manner of being a one dimentional character. We've all been in the situation of having to explain one of our friends or partners to another group of people. I don't like the word "partner", it sounds like we're cowboys talking. We're much more interested in our selves and the woman is doing a great reflection of how we've all felt.

Then again I don't know anything, so I should stop talking and listen more.

Groovie post.

Benjamin De Schrijver said...

I assume you know this Eddie, but apparently the commenter above didn't realize that Stanislavsky died in 1938. Though of course, even though I didn't watch the video, I assume what he's talking about is his method.

Not really impressed by the Al Pacino imitation. I wouldn't have known by the performance (or use of voice) itself.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Benjamin: Stanislavsky died in 1938? Then who is this man? He identifies himself as Constantine Stanislavsky on the video.

Lester Hunt said...

The Stanislavsy video is fun and interesting, but that guy can't actually be Stanislavsky himself. If he died in 1938 (in the Soviet Union, I had always thought) how could he be in a color film, being interviewed by an American, talking about Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson?

Pete Emslie said...

Poor Stanislavsky. He obviously couldn't get the rhythm of being dead, so he was acting like he's still alive.

I thought the rain was particularly good in that scene early on with the tree, yet I felt it became rather pretentious and overly melodramatic with its roar of thunder later on. It was trying too hard to dominate the scene and came across as somewhat superficial in an otherwise admirable performance.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Pete: Hilarious! I almost fell off my chair laughing!

Lester: Maybe it's Stanislavsky's son. If it's the original Stanislavsky then we can say he succeeds, not by being alive, but by simply not being dead (I'm imitating Pete).

Benjamin: You didn't like the Beckham video!? The imitation of Pacino might not have been completely accurate but it was a fun performance in its own right, and I loved the way the two actors adjusted to each other's rhythms. I even thought the staging was fuuny!

Benjamin De Schrijver said...

That's true. I guess I was just comparing it too much with other imitators (Kevin Spacey is hilarious: )