Why actors must be true to themselves

In my experience of acting, from a director’s perspective and an actor’s, finding the truth of a character in a scene and also finding the truth of the scene and making them work together as a coherent piece is quite an achievement. At times this can take forever and at other times the two come together in moments. Putting all of these scenes together to create complete, seamless and believable work; film or theatre, is a triumph for all involved.

In order for an actor to find the truth of the character and scene, that is to say, to be true to the character and scene, the actor must first be true to themselves. There can be no hiding of one’s self. An actor must be prepared to be open and stay open.

When you act, you’re always playing a version of yourself. You can’t bring more to the role than what you are.

Bradley Whitford

For example, if you’re emotionally closed as a person it will be near impossible for you to deliver an emotional performance that is ‘believable.’

I also like this quote from the same actor which at first read seems to contradict the first one. But I believe the two thoughts work well together. – “You need to be real enough to be believable, but you don’t necessarily have to be real enough to be real. There is a distinction.”

It’s important to remember that we are actors playing the roles of others. If not then only doctors could play doctors and so on and so forth. But in the realm of emotions and the stuff of being human, all actors need to work with honesty and openness which will ultimately lead them to finding the truth of both the character and scene.

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