Acting style

Introduction Acting can only be understood after it is first accepted as a creative medium demanding an original act. Brander Matthews remarked, The actor needs to have under control not only his gestures and his tones, but all other means of stimulating sensibility and these should be ready for use at all times, wholly independent of the words of the text. In the same work he quoted with approval the words of the great 19th-century Italian tragedian Ernesto Rossi that a great actor is independent of the poet, because the supreme essence of feeling does not reside in prose or in verse, but in the accent with which it is delivered. (Acting, 2009)Acting styles An acting style is the way a play is presented or the way an actor portrays his character. It can refer to quite a few different things Рlike period acting (roles that take place in a different earlier, era, place or society), or stylized acting (such as the very specific styles used Restoration comedies etc.), or it may refer to verse acting (such as Shakespeare), or proper classical acting (such as ancient Greek plays), or to the early declaiming acting (a very stiff, presentational style directly aimed toward the audience), or to modern-day acting (such as we see today in contemporary comedy and drama where actors act realistically). Two major classifications of acting style can be made as presentational and representational. Where representational refers to modern realistic acting and representational refers to the more formal or exaggerated acting styles of old (Kernodle)Analysis In 1971, Alan Schneider directed an historic video taped performance of Samuel Becketts Krapps Last Tape, starring Jack MacGowran. The play dramatized an old mans struggle to repossess his youth by searching through reels of audiotape. The style of acting adopted by MacGowarn is simple and realistic as is characteristic in contemporary cinema. He conveys the old mans age and disability (he is nearly half-blind) through body movements and literally no dialogue at all. There are no other actors and the only props are a single table and chair in an otherwise empty room. The film is totally focused on the old man and his every expression. MacGrowan uses his facial and subtle body movements to convey his infirmity and even the joy and difficulty at eating a banana is emoted with great ability and expression in total silence. In 1964 Camera Three, New York, NY produced a short film featuring James Cahill, John Heffernan amp. Roy Scheider based on excerpts from Ben Jonsons 17th century comedy of humors The Alchemist, in which two con-men with a philosophers stone dupe respectable but avaricious members of the establishment. In direct contrast to Krapps Last Tape, there are several actors in the film all of whom use a mix of presentational and representational acting styles. They are realistic in their representation of sixteenth century personas, be it a humble shopkeeper or an aristocrat. On the other hand they exaggerate the traits of their characters a little to emphasize for example the humility and simplicity of the new shop owner come for consultation with the alchemist. They use loud gestures and body movements to express emotions, whereas MacGrowan is subtle and subdued in contrast.Period costumes and furniture also lends an ambience to The Alchemist but there is starkness to the setting and performance of Krapps Last Tape .Bibliography Acting. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. , Encyclopædia Britannica OnlineRetrieved July1,2009