Saturday, April 15, 2006

of interest to film actors

In my last post, I wrote about a film called Friends with Money. I mentioned a few of the performances that stood out, and one was that of an actor named Simon McBurney. He was magnetic, real, precise, funny, physically animated, emotionally full. In short, everything you could look for in an actor. The performance was one of the best I have seen in a long while. There was something familiar about his name to me, and I checked IMDB, and then remembered where I had see his name. He is the founder of an internationally acclaimed theater company in London called Theatre de Complicite. I saw their work at the Lincolcn Center Festival perhaps eight years ago. The production was transformational, meaning the set was minimal, and the actors' bodies accomplished much of the constant scenic transformation. We've all seen this kind of thing, but this company managed to do it so inventively that it seemed totally new. The actors were clearly all highly trained movement specialists, who had remarkable powers of articulation throughout their entire bodies. If I remember rightly, they studied a rigorous form of movement training called Le Coq. the actor in the movie, Simon McBurney, had directed the production I had seen, and had choreographed it. Anyway, I found it significant that this actor who had stood out so strongly in the film had had such a strong background in theater and in theatrical movement specifically. It supports my ongoing claim that the differences between acting for theater and film get way too much play, that the important things is learning to be engaged with others in a truthful,compelling way. It also underscores the fact that getting a solid, thorough movement background is an enormous asset to all actors, regardless of their professional goals.

friends with money

This is the title of a new offbeat indie comedy, my very favorite kind of movie. It is ensemble picture. There are some very fine perofrmances: Simon McBurney, Frances McDormand, Jason Isaacs, among others. Good laughs. I'd say take it in.

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