Friday, May 20, 2011

As If

Adults cringed when the catchphrase "As if!" linked up with "Whatever..." and the always confusing "Oh snap!" in the world of teenage lingo.

I suspect every generation, from cave-teens forward, adopted cool talk to differentiate themselves from their parents' generation.

When I visited the ruins of Pompeii, I was oddly reassured to view ancient graffiti scrawled across ancient walls.

    Successus, a weaver, loves the innkeepers slave girl named Iris.

    I have spoken. I have written all there is to say. You love Iris, but she does not love you.

    Weep, you girls. My penis has given you up.

Certainly this Iris chick was quite a catch. And the male obsession with private parts has gallivanted over generations without gaining an iota of wit.

Be that as it may, my point is that it goes on going on.

My real point, however, is that "As if!" actually has a pragmatic meaning for actors.

An actor's job is to lift words off a page, to own them and to deliver them through a character to an audience's ears in order to tell the story the writer intended.

One of the first steps is for the actor to identify with the character's goals and actions. Thus we say, "It's as if I were...."

"Bailey, when you play Hermia and you're having a big fight with Helena, it would help to imagine it was as if your best friend, Cynthia, suddenly walked over and called you names."

Oh yeah...I get it.

I told the kids of my first outing at theater school, when I was sixteen. I was in a scene from William Gibson's play "The Miracle Worker." It's the story of Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan.

In helping me play a blind character, my acting teacher said, "It's as if your eyeballs are in your fingertips."

Oh yeah...I get it.

I created an obstacle course of chairs, and one by one the Shakespeare Club actors maneuvered across the room as if seeing through fingertips.

Oh yeah...they got it.

If I was Queen Elizibth I would help the poor people who ask for money on the street. And I would wear alot of fancy clothes and jualery. My gards will travel the whole world just to get the best jualery there is. I would have a big purple Ruby and a pretty neckless. I would have a billion of clothes and it would take me 4 hours just to put my jualery my shoes and dress.
Krystal, 4th grade

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