Welcome to Michael’s ‘Intimate With Strangers’ Page 4
Don’t make “stage” decisions about when you will use what or for what purpose.
Decisions will come later.
When you consider the circumstances of time, weather, state of health and being, do
something about them. For instance, if it is supposed to be an overheated (or chilly)
room, work for a sense memory and see what happens as you explore and handle the
objects in the room. In other words, wherever you can do instead of talk, do so!
When I insist that you don’t tell each other what to do, I mean not only the obvious
(“Look at me on that line,” “Why don’t you walk around a little more?” “It would help if you
were a little more threatening,” etc.) I mean literally never tell, advise or “help” your
partner with his role! You immediately become a director instead of an actor. You also
become his audience by watching him and judging whether he’s more threatening to you,
or walking around enough, or looking at you on cue. You destroy all innocence of
If the information or the facts of the scene are unclear, you obviously must come to an
agreement about them. But don’t verbalize your wishes or your actions or your
obstacles, or theorize about them. You will immediately become self-conscious and
destroy the confrontation with your partner, and the possibility for true interaction!
I can make some funny examples, taken from my own experiences, for how to avoid
“your fault” talk. If the other character is supposed to stop you from leaving the room,
but doesn’t do it quickly enough - leave! The next time that actor will stop you on time.
You never have to say, “You’re supposed to stop me there,” or “You didn’t say your line
fast enough.” It also works in reverse. If the other actor rushes out and leaves you no
room for your line, let him. Don’t say, “You’re not giving me enough time for my line.”
If the other actor is off circumstances, instead of arguing, go along with him, and the
scene will grind to a halt for him. Use what the other actor does, make his signals alive
by endowing them with what you need and want.