Tuesday, 14 October 2014

What makes a good actor?

I don't know but in the past three days I have seen amazing yet extremely different acting. Some looked effortless, some looked like acting but were so compelling.

Let's start with Harriet Walter's King Henry in Shakespeare's Henry IV, directed by Phyllida Lloyd. There is so much to say about the direction already (the play is set in a contemporary female prison...), but let's focus on the acting for now. How did she put off such a threatening and authoritative king, without never pushing her voice?

She spoke mainly slowly, as if she had all the time in the world - which she had in a way, because as the king everyone was bound to listen to her.

In a oestrogen-fuelled world (all-female cast), where all scenes were conveying an impressive dose of energy, she was always calm and collected -even in her orders, even when the play threatened to burst - which gave great inconsistency to the play in general and separated her from the rest of the actresses.

Somehow she managed to make me fear for her loss of power. She was mainly alone on stage, and her loneliness made it even more impressive that she'd have achieved power. Throughout the play I was kept thinking that she'd probably earned her power over the others due to her intelligence more than by force

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