Essays on
Actors & Acting

by G.L. Horton

G.L. Horton's newest essays are now being posted on her stageblog.

Essence of Acting Is Spiritual Practice
I've got to protest the "acting is behavior we get paid for" definition. Acting is an ancient spiritual practice, a mediating priesthood, R & D for individual souls and for the Body Politic.

Actor Training & Projection of Inner States
RV wrote: "Voice and movement have always been trained to some degree ... as they were the only acting means 'trainable' until Stanislavsky came on the scene." GLH replies: Isn't much of traditional Eastern acting training focused on the attainment and projection of inner states?

Why do accents in the first place?
JH wrote: "With English accents there is [often] an element of amelioration. In times of stress, this veneer can drop..." GLH replies: I often put this change of diction into a character's written lines . . .

Actors angry at playwright over unpaid production
DF wrote: "My play Fire in the Park, set in Victorian Manchester, has been picked up by a company staging it in Salford. Some of my actor friends are angry with me for letting a company that doesn't pay its actors put on my play." GLH replies: Your actor friends need to take a deep breath and chant "Ohmmmm". . .

Acting as therapy?
VG wrote: "Acting is therapy, or should be . . . acting is such a splendid and spiritual profession." GLH replies: I must protest-- not because I don't wish it were true! I think the craft of acting leads to the accumulation of emotional recognition and control that can be put to theraputic uses but . . .

Parts for Older Actors?
K. wishes more playwrights would "write older" . . . GLH replies: I think you'd perform a public service if you wrote to those theatres and told them that "they" would find 60+ actors very easily if they'd take the trouble to look . . .

More Checkov & psychological gesture
GLH writes: I feel compelled to respond to this thread, although it has suddenly occurred to me that I am about to venture into an area of theory where I can cite no authorities. . . . My understanding of the PG-- which may have No relationship to the "official" one-- goes like this: The PG is the particular shape of the libido as it emerges from the id . . . In most plays there are one or two overarching PGs that animate almost ALL the characters, and a good production makes this invisible unifying force visible and understood . . .

M. Checkov's psychological gesture
GLH writes: Chekhov's To the Actor (1953) is the only one that talks about theatre in a way that incorporates the elements I most value: the mystical, aesthetic, communal, inspired, & transpersonal. He connects psychology and philosophy with ritual, and the art of acting with the other arts . . .


See also other G.L. Horton essays on . . . actors & acting . . . criticism . . . literature . . . miscellaneous . . . modern plays . . . political commentary . . . Shakespeare . . . women's issues . . . writing & directing & producing

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