The moment that a play ceases to be a script and becomes alive is magic. Sometimes in rehearsal magic happens for brief moments, and then it’s as if a record needle skips and we are jolted back to “reality.” Young actors have complicated lives before they enter the drama classroom, and they bring all kinds of real-world joys, anxieties, emotions, and mindsets to their craft. When they submerge the real world and begin to interpret their parts, layers form. Geological layers of experience and emotion and spirituality, along with an overlay of learning and knowledge gained jostle for position. Perhaps a seismograph needle would be a better analogy than a record needle. The earth shakes, plates realign, and suddenly an emotion or experience is running concurrently with the actor’s imagination, and the play is real.
Tears on stage are rarely fake. They come from somewhere. Where do you find them? In joy, in grief, in disappointment, in pain. Young actors know where to find tears, and anger, and love. Sometimes they are just pretending, because they don’t have all the experience yet, but usually the pretender has an “aha” moment which brings reality alongside the pretense.
I love “aha” moments.
“Acting is the ability to live truthfully under imaginary circumstances.”–Sandy Meisner