Boleslavsky Vs. Lewis Essay, Research Paper
Robert Lewis’ Advice to the Players is a fairly helpful book for those looking for a future on the stage. Lewis wrote the book as though he is teaching a class at that moment. In fact, I have a pretty good feeling that was actually what he did. He probably went home after every one of his classes and wrote down what happened that day. He has many an exercise for each lesson, which he talks about after he explains the exercise. Even though, while I was reading the book, I found myself doing some of the exercises, I also found myself drifting off to somewhere else in my life. Advice to the Players didn’t exactly hold my attention very well. It kind of read through my mind in the voice of the teacher from The Wonder Years.
He starts his book off with a chapter about relaxation. Lewis goes through all of the muscles one by one that should be tightened and relaxed. I feel that this is a very necessary exercise in that it allows the actors to not only relax, but to also pinpoint where they personally hold their tension. When a person carries that tension around with them without relaxing it, it’s usually very noticeable. If your character on stage hasn’t a care in the world, they aren’t very likely to be holding tension in their shoulders.
In another chapter, Lewis tells of the importance of improvisation. It can be used for a number of reasons. Improvisation can be used to create a better understanding of the playwright’s words. When you put the playwright’s words into your own you can often times get a better sense of what it is you are saying and the whole meaning behind it. “It’s quite possible that in the improvisation you get a little moment?that enriches the inner life of the dialogue and that you might never have discovered without improvisation”.
Lewis’ chapter on sensory perception is in my opinion his best one. He says that sensory perception, or recall, is quite important in having an audience believe that what is happening is real. He also cautions that it can be overdone and take away from the play or the characters themselves. He notes that with the proper use of sensory perception the audience will not even notice, but if it is not there at all they will notice. One of his exercises is to pick up an object (one that is exceptionally nice to touch such as a silk scarf), feel it, put the object down, and then pretend to pick it up again. Feel it once more through your memory, and then pick it up again for real and check that your memory and feeling were correct. This can be done with a number of objects of any texture.
Robert Lewis’ Advice to the Players has very many good points about acting and has some great exercises as well. I still found it very difficult to read, however. It wasn’t very much fun to read these exercises and not hear the results from anyone else’s point of view but his own.