The Actor and Subtext

The Actor and Subtext

The Actor and Subtext, Acting, Voice And Speech,Have you noticed when watching a film how often you pay attention to the reactions? The other actor may be speaking but the camera is trained on the actor who is doing the listening. Actors, when they need to enact a scene where there is an exchange of high emotion and very little or maybe even no words, have to create an almost real situation so that they are able to feel the intensity of emotions. Such should be the reality of emotion that its effect will be felt on the actor’s bodily attitude, facial expressions, breathing, and tone of voice, and lead to the creation of a subtext that an audience can pick up on and understand.

The subtext can make a character very interesting. For example, if you have to play the part of a character with an unspecified mental disorder and you are, for some unknown reason afraid of pictures, which is the character’s subtext. Nowhere in the storyline is this phobia explained or addressed. However, whenever the character gets too near to a picture, or sees one, or dreams of one, he is gripped by a terrible sense of fear. Such a subtext makes for erratic behavior in the unlikeliest of times. These sorts of unspoken choices can really flesh out a character and keep the character fresh throughout the act.
One more form of subtext is where the actor is needed to convey emotion without dialogue that something is going on inside him that is emotionally rich. So that the audience is able to feel that an inner struggle, the actor will need to work on creating some inner point of focus that is real.

The subtext is what the actor is saying, thinking, remembering, imagining, or processing, in response to the demands of the scene, which is coloring their reactions in the scene.

Subtext is what tells us the truth, irrespective of what is being said. The subtext brings to the surface the words we never hear but, nonetheless, understand.

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