Playing the Paradox

The best acting, like life itself, contains paradoxes, or opposites. Look to nature – inhale/exhale, tide in/tide out, day/night, loud/soft, creation/destruction: for every action, there must be an opposite and equal reaction. As most great actors have always known -using opposites infuses our work with surprise and nuance. Even in loving someone, there may be hate for them (because they now have the ability to hurt us). If you observe people in loving relationships, there is usually a little anger/frustration/cruelty popping in from time to time. In a scene where you want someone’s love, if you find a way to infuse the opposite – you will be hitting every note in the scale. Playing a brave character, look for where there may be fear; when playing with cruelty, look for the compassion. Make sure when you choose your action, to notice places in the scene, or story, where you can play the opposite. It allows for the character to be not just in pursuit of his objective, but also in “process” of making decisions about his goals.

Published by jeffreymarcus

I am an actor, acting coach, acting teacher, director, media counselor living in Los Angeles who raises astonishing dogs and can cook anything.

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