The Actor's OBJECTIVE


Definition of 
Objective (the "desire")

  • The conscious intent of the character.
  • An active phrase-  starting with the word "to".
  • Appropriate to the character's givens

Remember: The action is "what" we do. The objective is why we want to do it. 

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Purpose of the objective for the actor:

To help get them out of their heads. 
(Away from thinking of themselves)
To create an organic and justified action  
To ultimately serve the super-objective 
(the whole scene or a whole play script)
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Picking Your Objective
There's no one correct answer when you're looking for what the character wants, and why they want it. It just has to come from the script and the givens. 
The objective should be difficult to attain. 
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Find the best Physical Action to play 

Examples of STRONG verbs:

- "to lecture.."
- "to proclaim.." 
- "to announce.."
- "to demand.." 
- "to interrogate."

NOTE: Stronger verbs excite the imagination and give the actor specificity.. depth.. and a higher level of believability.

Examples of WEAK verbs: 
(choices that are hard to act) 

- "to explain.."
- "to tell.."
- "to ask."
- "To be..."
- "To have..."

NOTE: Weak verbs lead to generalized, stereotypical acting.

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How do you know if your objective choices are correct, actable, and strong?

There are several questions you can ask yourself when choosing an objective that will help you test the strength of your verb choices.

1. Can it be physically done? Such acting verbs as "to push," "to beg," "to defend" can readily be put into the body.

2. Is it rooted in the other person? Is it other-directed? "I Want to marry him" is other-directed; "I want to get married" is not. "I want her to notice me," not "I want to be noticed."

3. Does it trigger a sense of fun? Does it excite your imagination? Does the verb stimulate you to action? "I want to find the answer" does little to excite; it's not very much fun. "To interrogate," "to probe," "to dig" do much more to get the juices flowing.

4. Is it a quality or an attitude? "Angry," "shy," "moody," "motherly" are examples of some very dangerous words for the actor. An emotional quality or mental attitude may be present but it is death to try to play them. Translate such qualities or attitudes into strong, other-directed verb phrases.

5. Is it consistent with the playwright's intention? Does it fit with the verbs in the spine of the play, the overriding idea behind what the play is about and what the main conflicts are in each scene? 

6. What will signify success? How will you know if you have won or lost your objective? If your objective is "to win her love," how will you know when you have succeeded? (what verb will be the response?) Will she kiss you? Will she cry? Will she simply smileYou play your objective to win that specific thing, and specificity is the key here.


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