That Still Small Voice
Ushuwaia Blue has become a touchstone in my head for the sorts of projects I want to make acting students attempt in order to build a different kind of acting practice.
Beginning acting is chock full of affection for blazing intensity. In love with wielding every emotion at a 35 out of 10 we see scenes full of rage and not a lot else. It’s the First Church of Going There. It’s adherents fall into the McDonagh hole, in the 90’s they were the Mamet and Labute folks.
And it is fun as hell to wield those emotions full bore. To not worry about tactics and just let 8-bit emotion flow. It’s when you get stuck in that being your only tool that it becomes a hindrance. You have to find the finer edged tools in your toolbox to create more finely wrought work.
This wasn’t particularly emphasized in my actor training, and I don’t believe that it’s being emphasized now. Vulnerable listening and discovery, in combination with finer grained, more specific tactics are going to be necessary in a hybrid digital/presence form, and in a more immersive form. The performance doesn’t need to be mimetic, but it needs to be authentic.
And the tactics of sidelong agreement or of unspoken acquiescence in a text like Ushuaia Blue pay off for the audience differently than flashy cleverness, or fierceness in every direction and it’s lovely to have the option to give the audience something different.