The only reason to rehearse is to learn to perform the play.
It is not to “explore the meaning of the play” -the play, for the actor, has no meaning beyond its performance. It is not to “investigate the life of the character.” There is no character. There are just lines on the page.
A play can be rehearsed quickly, by a group of component actors who know the lines, and are prepared, with the help of the director, to find the simple actions associated with them and to be arranged into an appropriate stage picture. If this so, why squander months in rehearsal and years in school? The reason is economic.
Acting has become a profession of the genteel class, and, by approbation, infinitely expansible. If one need not be employed to call oneself an actor, any number can play; and so “acting” becomes a refuge for the energy and time of the privileged class, like tatting or good works.
Since there is little chance of the vast hordes of amateurs being tested in performance, their “skills” need not be demonstrably useful. They are never to be used. So these “skills”, capable of demanding the maximum of devotion, are the amateur’s friend, since, in their endless study, one can stay and play and never be tested.
I remember a billboard on a Nevada road advertising some new slot machines at a casino. The sign read BIGGER PAY MEANS LONGER PLAY and was the most truthful piece of advertising I’ve ever seen. “We admit”, the sign meant, “you do not gamble to win. We announce, in fact, that, as you know, you will not win. But we offer you more of that for which you gamble: gambling time”
The use to which the gambler puts his or her money is “time at the tables”. And the use to which the acting student puts his or her time, money, and faith is “time at the school”. It is an end in itself.
Yukarıdaki cümleler “Heresy and common sense for the actor” alt başlığıyla David Mamet tarafından yazılmış True and False adlı kitabın içinden alındı. Kitap oyunculara hitaben yazılmış bir kitap. Ve Anthony Hopkins’in deyimiyle “Mamet manages to demolish the myths … that pass for the theory with regard to acting and directing…. True and False is a revealing book of the highest order and a pleasure to read.” Ülkemizde hala yeterince anlaşılamamış ama bir o kadar da popülerleşen bir iş oyunculuk. Yukarıdaki satırlardan varın siz anlayın bu iş bir meslek mi yoksa yaşam tarzı mı…