Search This Blog

Friday, January 25, 2013

What actors do (from Killer Dolphin).

"I think," Alleyn said, "we'd better, both of us, remind ourselves about actors."

"You do?  What about them?"

"One must always remember that they're trained to convey emotion.  On or off stage, they make the most of everything they feel.  Now this doesn't mean they express their feelings up to a saturation point.  When you and I and all the rest of the non-actors do our damnedest to understate and be ironical about our emotional reflexes, the actor, even when he underplays them, does so with such expertise that he convinces us laymen that he's in extremis.  He isn't.  He's only being professionally articulate about something that happens offstage instead of in front of an official audience... nor does it mean he's superficial or a hypocrite.  It's his job..."

Ngaio Marsh, writing this in Killer Dolphin (1966), was a playwright as well as a mystery author.

I like this observation.  Very clever, isn't it?  We get so attached to the characters they play, how often can we really get ourselves to believe the actors themselves aren't more like the characters?

But I wonder about it.  Surely some actors don't want to work this hard all the damned time.

Granted, a murder investigation would be unusual... but... still, I wonder.

BTW, I'm fond of this novel and certain characters.  I'm a sucker for many of hers set in theaters.

No comments: