Beyond Reality TV: The New Acting
The new acting requires new skills. Where once an actor took a role in a film, television show, &c., the new acting disperses the subject across media, and increasingly, traditional, everyday media. Where once the actor produced a body of work, the new acting is the body of the actor. Distribution, we used to understand, meant the meting out of copies, whether to individuals or networks. Today the work finds distribution a page at a time--magazine covers, tweets, 911 calls--and those pages scattered across every form of media, a play written ahead of time and seemingly carried out the window of the playwright by the wind, slowly, sorrowfully, inevitably falling to the ground, falling where it may. The new acting creates through destruction, specifically the destruction of the actor herself. Where Sophocles' Antigone portrayed the downfall of its characters, the new acting focuses instead on the actors. It requires a commitment to the storyline that cannot waver. One must literally throw oneself into the role, perhaps through the role, the other side of which is never visible to the world, for the camera cannot see it, which is to say, "into nothingness." The actor must agree to become the role until such time as the role becomes her, replaces her. The new acting is only successful when the actor has come to believe it herself. Having so perfectly taken on the role, the true nature of the work of art, namely, that it has been constructed, reveals itself by coming to an end. As with all tragedies, the violence is merely hinted at offstage. Where the actor might have gone on to do more work, the role must and will come to an end.