Caminando with the RSC: Acting in another language
June 25, 2012
Week 4. This week we started polishing the scenes of the first act. Now the work became more precise and we entered deeper into the relationships between the characters.
This work brought up some questions for me about my acting in a foreign country. Stephen Kemble told me in one of the sessions that I had a tendency to put the emotion first and then the argument. That the emotion was right but that I had to trust that it was there, and occupy myself with the delivery of the argument, and not over stress the dialogue with the emotion.
In Mexico the work we do with the emotion is very important. We don't usually hide emotions, they come to the forefront. Of course the argument is very important but in the work I've done it was in the mental process behind the words that you put the focus - if the mind is in the right place the words would be too.
I wouldn't worry to much about the delivery of the line as on being in the situation. I must stress that I'm not talking about acting in Mexico as a whole but about a certain school of acting, as I suppose that I can't count this acting experience in England a to encompass all of the English ways of acting.
We continued talking in the Ferry House of what it means to act in another language. We noticed that it is not just about learning your lines in a foreign language.
In Spanish we stress the words not the vowels. And sometimes if you put the stress in the sentence as you would in Spanish it doesn't convey the same meaning in English, so we have to learn where to put the stress even though it doesn't sound natural to us.
So to sum up. Acting and theatre are a reflection of a society and so acting in another country is not just about changing the language - it's about understanding the idiosyncrasies of that country.
This project in particular is about the merge of the two cultures, so you just have to take that step in certain occasions, but I couldn't help reflecting on it.
And back to the week's work. At the end of the week we had our first stumble through the first half of the play, we were really excited and didn't know what to expect. I'm happy to say that it was very successful and we were all encouraged by it, we had fun doing it and the story came through, there is still a lot of work to be done, but we started to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
by Andres Weiss
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