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 The actor's perspective on original works

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keltroncybo
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PostSubject: The actor's perspective on original works   Tue May 06, 2008 12:35 pm

I thought that the opening of Spotlight this weekend presented a good time to inaugurate this thread.

This is not the first opportunity I have had to act in original works; an original musical of Little Women, and SkidZoeFraNya, an original musical about acting in New York...but I am curious about everyone else on the forum...

Who has had the opportunity to originate a character or production before?

What are your feelings about doing this in Spotlight?

What are some of the pros and cons of being the FIRST to play a role?

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James Jay
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PostSubject: Re: The actor's perspective on original works   Thu May 08, 2008 8:16 am

I think it would be rather cool to be the first to originate a role, as long as you did well in it! I have been truly inspired by the playwrights I've gotten to know, and perhaps I'll give it a shot over the summer. As to originating a character, does the radio drama, Yes, Virginia count? I got to be the first one to play James O'Hanlon in the radio dramatization of a previously released play/TV movie. That was pretty cool.

Answering your question about Spotlight, I've really enjoyed this process. I've said before, it doesn't really feel right until I get on the stage, and see how it's all going to play out. Rehearsing in a small room, or garage, just doesn't have the same magical feeling as the stage does. Getting out there, getting all the directions and blocking set to the actual space feels good, and I am very excited about doing two nights of spotlight. I have this incredible feeling that there will be two slightly different shows each night......I'm sure those who attend will be thoroughly entertained.

Back on topic, I would think that being the first to create a character would have some problems. One might be typecast, or anyone else attempting to do the role would be compared to the originator. Look at some of the recent movie remakes! Those probably provide the most vivid examples.

By the way, this is the 500th post here! W00T W00T!

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QuantumCowboy
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PostSubject: Re: The actor's perspective on original works   Thu May 08, 2008 11:06 am

Writing "How I Saved the World" with Mathew was a great experience. A few of the characters were recycled from a previous script, but a lot of it was new craziness that somehow found its way in. It's not really the best example of a script, because it's really theater of the absurd, but it was a whole lot of fun! We holed up in a corner of the Panera Bread and just started coming up with all sorts of random stuff... and you know me and Matt, of course we had to act everything out (or at least do the voices)... we got some strange looks in that Panera Bread, let me tell you! I've also been pleased to see all the funny touches that the actors are putting on every character, flairs that are just so, so funny but Matt and I wouldn't have been able to come with on our own. So it's a great process that continues even on the stage.

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PostSubject: Re: The actor's perspective on original works   Thu May 08, 2008 11:07 am

James Jay wrote:
By the way, this is the 500th post here! W00T W00T!

Well done Jay, I'm tripling your pay as moderator.
Laughing

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James Jay
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PostSubject: Re: The actor's perspective on original works   Thu May 08, 2008 12:00 pm

QuantumCowboy wrote:
James Jay wrote:
By the way, this is the 500th post here! W00T W00T!

Well done Jay, I'm tripling your pay as moderator.
Laughing

Awesome!!! 3 x 0= a whole lotta nuttin.....but I'll still keep doin da job.........

I can only hope to aspire to your high post count, Master Yoda.
cheers

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PostSubject: Re: The actor's perspective on original works   Thu May 08, 2008 12:17 pm

keltroncybo wrote:
What are some of the pros and cons of being the FIRST to play a role?

I like to look at how the role was previously played for inspiration and understanding, but of course, doing too much of that stifles one's own interpretation of the character. I guess I would say it depends on the character. For very deep characters, or for difficult language such as Shakespeare, I would probably not want to be the first... it would help so much to be able to see facets of a dark character that I wouldn't have thought of, and of course seeing a play acted out often brings a comprehension of the language that is difficult to get otherwise. And if it's both, like say, Hamlet, I just don't think I would have the capability to play such a role at all!

Provided that I felt comfortable with my understanding of the story and character, being the first would be great; it would be exciting to know that others would then later look to me and my work for inspiration and understanding, as I do so often to others now.

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keltroncybo
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PostSubject: Re: The actor's perspective on original works   Thu May 08, 2008 3:28 pm

I have to be honest...I'd rather not have much knowledge of previous characterizations of a role I'm playing. I like to keep my portrayal original and I find that if I'm familiar with previous actors' work, I have a more difficult time coming up with my own.

That is one of the reason's I love originating a character, I feel like it is a rare opportunity for an actor to create original art.

Most artists get to do that all the time, but often, actors are asked to produce someone else's art.

that's just my opinion.

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PostSubject: Re: The actor's perspective on original works   Tue May 13, 2008 1:04 pm

keltroncybo wrote:
I have to be honest...I'd rather not have much knowledge of previous characterizations of a role I'm playing. I like to keep my portrayal original and I find that if I'm familiar with previous actors' work, I have a more difficult time coming up with my own.

That is one of the reason's I love originating a character, I feel like it is a rare opportunity for an actor to create original art.

Most artists get to do that all the time, but often, actors are asked to produce someone else's art.

that's just my opinion.

Well, for starters, you are a much more experienced thespian than I, so probably don't need as much help with character study. Smile

I disagree with your last statement however. I think the performance is an entirely separate art from the writing... a new interpretation of someone else's character that makes people think in new ways and see the story in new ways is just as original in my view as writing a whole new character. "Producing someone else's art" would be like playing a Romeo exactly like Leonardo di Caprio for example.

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