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jueves, 2 de junio de 2011

Conversacion imaginaria entre Susan Batson y David Mamet



I assigned my class at the Prague Film School to read Susan Batson'sTruth and David Mamet's True and False. These are both great books, by the way, and all actors should read them. As you may know, Susan Batson is the acting coach for the likes of Nicole Kidman, and Juliette Binoche, and David Mamet is the award-winning writer and director.

It was a fun juxtoposition because they are so different in their point of view about acting, and actor training. One of my students, Ben Palacios, has given me permission to post his imaginary debate between the two of them here:

TRUTH, by Susan Batson

TRUE AND FALSE, by David Mamet

I can imagine a discourse between Batson and Mamet, which goes something like this…


You’re a fraud. Life in the studio is not acting. All you do is take up the energy and time of a privileged class of people who’d like to call themselves “actors”.


I see you have trouble trusting people, David. Why is your Public Persona so abrasive and untrusting? This suggests to me that your Need is to be cared for.


No. My need (with a lowercase ‘n’) is for actors to stop trying to learn their craft from so-called teachers like you – and your cultish nonsense, and learn it where they should: in the arena.


I give actors the tools to foster their acting through a belief system. I think we’ll both agree that playing at a feeling or sensation won’t reach an audience. You have to believe it. That’s where I come in. In your play, Oleanna, did Carol not truly believe that John had sexually assaulted her?


Carol and John do not exist; they are mere words on a page. I hate it when people ask me stuff about my plays as if they actually happened and I was the only witness. All right, let’s get this straight: belief only induces self-deception. You’re training people to deceive themselves, when they should just accept the circumstances of their situation as an actor on stage. That takes real courage. As I said: You’re a fraud.


But I taught Nicole Kidman, who’s a great actress.


She was a very good actress before she met you. She is one now in spite of you. That – I’m impressed by. And Great Actors or Actresses only exist to fulfil the cultural need for one. And honestly… she’s not that great.


All right Bucko, what do you give actors? A lack of preparedness? …at least I give them something to believe in.


Again with the belief! That ‘lack of preparedness’ is how we spend our lives. That’s the real Truth – with a capital ‘T’. That’s what’s interesting to watch.


I disagree.


I knew you would.


Fine. Goodbye… Come on, Nicole.

Tomado de la pagina http://nancybishopcasting.blogspot.com/2009/12/susan-batson-vs-david-mamet.html

Susan Batson


Like all great performers, Nicole Kidman approached her role in The Hours as a creative collaboration. Kidman knew that portraying Virginia Woolf on screen required a truth that she as the actor and Wolff as the character shared. Enter acting "alchemist" and "technician of the spirit" (The New Yorker) Susan Batson. Batson's process gave Kidman the tools to find that truth and honed her performance from the inside out. She won an Oscar for her work.

In Truth, the most sought after acting guru in Hollywood and on Broadway distills her half century's experience as an actor, teacher, and personal coach into a step by step process for creating a character from first read through to final performance.

Debunking a century's worth of myths about "method acting," Batson identifies the unifying forces of Need, Public Persona, and Tragic Flaw to unite the actor with his or her character. Need is the primal, unfulfilled desire that a character's Public Persona hides. Tragic Flaw is the confrontational dramatic behavior that erupts when the character's Need and Public Persona clash. Truth shows how actively defining and understanding these three principals leads to the most truthful performances possible.

A must-read for beginning actors, a wake-up call for working actors, and an indispensable reference for writers, Truth reveals the inner game of telling stories and creating vivid, three dimensional life out of words.


Susan Batson and her New York and Los Angeles based Black Nexxus acting school have been profiled in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, and Backstage. A protégé of theater legends Joe Papp and Harold Clurman, Batson is a member of the Actor's Studio. Her work on stage was recognized with a New York Drama Critics Award, an LA Drama Critics Award, and an Obie.

As a coach, Susan Batson has consulted with actors Nicole Kidman, Juliet Binoche, Tom Cruise, Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Connolly, Liv Tyler, and director Spike Lee. She was a producer of the hugely successful Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun, starring Sean Combs.

Susan Batson was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts and now makes her home in Manhattan.