Acting in real time
© By Paul Binnerts
Translated by the author and Stephen Wangh
(Soon to be published in the US)
The book describes the essential elements of real time theatre and the real time acting technique. It aims to make those elements available and workable for theatre practitioners – actors, directors, drama teachers, and stage designers -, and to make a permanent place for the convention of real time theater within our varied theater culture.
- Part I, Premises and Inspirations describes, in Chapter 1, The Dilemma’s of the Actor, the manifold identity of the actor, the paradoxes and contradictions he encounters, and what he does when he acts. Chapters 2, The Heart and Soul of the Actor, and 3, The Actor as Eyewitness, put this in the context of the acting conventions initiated by Stanislavski and Brecht - psychological realism and the technique of identification, and epic theater and the technique of alienation - are analyzed in a comparative manner.
- Part II, Acting in Real Time, is primarily a practical guide, describing the tools the actor needs to act in postmodern theater. In Chapter 4, The Technique, the main skills of real time acting are described, compared with Stanislavski’s psychological realism and Brecht’s epic theater, and illuminated by many examples from the author’s practice. Chapter 5, The Workshop, presents a series of exercises designed to help the actor play a role using the real time acting form. The actors tell a story from their personal lives, take and keep a distance from it, and create first a solo-performance and then a montage of all stories. These exercises can increase the actor’s awareness of his identity as an actor and the natural distance between himself and the roles he plays. At the same time he can gain more precise command of the technique of real time acting. The Exercises, described in Chapter 6, are designed to help the actor become truly present in performance.
- Part III, entitled Real-Time Acting and Theater in Historical Perspective begins in Chapter 7, Origins and Conventions, with the earliest origins of play, ritual, and story-telling, and presents a broad overview of the history of acting, specifically relating the developments in acting to the history of theater architecture and stage design. Chapter 8, New Conventions and Innovations, explores the origins of realism as a theatrical convention. The two major acting conventions of twentieth-century theater - Stanislavski’s psychological realism and Brecht’s epic realism- are also put in this context, eventually leading up to real time acting, where the distinction between play and acting is restored.