The Actourist Part I: Acting From Within
So you notice that this is a part one, and I'm not the type to disappoint. This will be a trilogy of columns, if you will, or even if you won't; all studying the mysterious, wondrous, ridiculous art of acting. At the end of these three columns, you'll be able to act. Or your money back.
We'll begin with "Acting From Within."
This is the kind of acting you can learn in any old place, like a college, prison, bedroom, courtroom, or even a college in prison. Your teacher will focus his/her aura-flower-love-heart-energy and become the tree that they feel within them, swaying in a breeze that can only be created by the hot air rushing out of their empty skulls.
I won't belabor their stupidity. They do enough already.
Maybe you can already reach into yourself and find the character somewhere down in there, but, then again, do you really want to look down there? Think about the things you keep down there. Like boxes of random crap and kidney stones. Like repressed demoniacal food poisoning recollections. Like family reunions. There's a reason we don't go down into the basement, and it's not the monster lurking dangerously under the steps. It's the flooding, and we don't have those rubber, anti-shock, super-tall boots. Those are pretty cool… I should get a pair.
Oh. I'm still writing this… Whoops.
Let's take a look at some occasions in the TTT's history where we acted in this manner.
Naturally, when the idea of traditional acting falls under the bright light of discussion, Fatal Killings is the pimp of genius being interrogated. This movie is a deliciously fresh spring of 'acting from within', sprayed out upon the verdant grass of… uh… you. View, if you will, the character of Spencer Herbenstein, my personal favorite character that I didn't play, aside from the off-Broadway engagements, where I was Aaron Hendren's understudy for the role. There is one scene, in particular, where Spencer sleeps. I cannot say Mr. Hendren immediately understood this concept of "sleeping", but, after being coached by my techniques that I've laid out clearly in this column, he soon found the power within him. After much meditation, he realized that he had, in fact, slept the night before, in a similar fashion to the way the character of Spencer was sleeping. This was a breakthrough with his character, and all the pieces could click into place. Both Aaron and Spencer sleep, thus he realized they are one and the same.
In the brilliant Fancy Restaurant Sketch, Graham Woolley and the overly-method actor, Ted Stoltzfus, had a similar breakthrough with their characters as they realized their goal, much like the characters', was to eat, after having been denied food for an extended period of days. Feeding actors can be a real chore, and is best to ignore. Sue me.
I know they did.
The epitome, however, of 'acting from within', with respect to the school-definition, would be found in Hydro: First Flood, when the unintelligibly miraculous Graham Woolley, as Hydro, finds his roots as an actor. He finds that tree within him, and acts as a tree. Swift to trip.