Actors & Performers' Blog

IN PRAISE OF TOM HARDY

In the recent BBC series Taboo, Tom Hardy delivers a masterclass of screen acting as the protagonist James Delaney. 

Alongside him many excellent actors are working skilfully with a deep understanding of the medium, Jason Watkins, Oona Chaplin and Tom Hollander among them, but it is Hardy who dominates the series and several elements show his total mastery of his craft.

Firstly he utterly commands the screen whenever he appears.  It’s easy to put this down to the blessing of charisma but its cornerstone is deep concentration.  Additionally his stillness and use of silence draw you into his world.  His movements are few and highly controlled and the viewer’s eye never has to search for him.  Whenever an actor moves, or the camera moves, the viewer's eye unconsciously has to readjust to find the point of interest –  usually the character's eyes as we seek to understand what he or she is thinking but not saying.  For this …

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The Similarities Between Acting on Stage and Acting on Camera

Film and stage are quite similar in that they both are looking for truthful behavior within imaginary circumstances, or to quote Stanislavski, "Actors must live privately in public" regardless of medium.

Unfortunately there is a lot of misunderstanding of both delivery mechanisms that leads to the belief that the two are very dissimilar.The difference lies in the technical demand of each and in the way in which audiences view the material. I am just adding here to many of the comments that have gone before.

On stage, the actor must draw focus; on camera the camera focuses on whatever the director wants to see.

On stage, the actor has the ability to repeat a performance night after night which usually deepens their per and therefore the emotional wallop of the play. On camera, the actor repeats a scene or a sequence over and over, which should, if the actor and the director are in sync, produce different and or better work.

On stage, the actor does a scene and goes off stage for only a …

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Creating & Producing New Work Together

Tara Robinson & Steffan Donnelly co-wrote, co-created and co-produced My Body Welsh, the newest production from their two companies Invertigo Theatre, The Conker Group, and venue partner Pontio, Bangor. It’s an investigation into small town life on Anglesey, what it means to be from somewhere, and how truth, history and stories weave together to forge a sense of national identity. It toured across Wales in January 2017 and is published by Bloomsbury Methuen Drama.


Co-writing, co-creating and co-producing is definitely fun, rich, varied and exciting, it’s also satisfying and sometimes tricky. We’ve jotted down some basic advice based on our findings working together...

FIND SOMEONE YOU LIKE THEN DATE THEM

We have zero advice for how you find this person. For us it happened by chance working on Titus Andronicus at Shakespeare’s Globe. We discovered we had the same sense of humour and enjoyed each other’s company. But that in itself is a good start. The thing we advise is …

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T2: TRAINSPOTTING

T2: TRAINSPOTTING

While the four leads give a strong ensemble performance, there are also some valuable lessons in this film about the intangible depth that preparation can bring to a screen role.

Without the structure offered by theatre rehearsal, and the fillip provided by the approval of the director and other actors, it can be hard for screen actors to do an equivalent amount of preparation.  (In fact I believe that even greater preparation is needed because of the intense scrutiny of the camera.)  And, let’s be honest, there’s a leap of faith required that the time and emotional energy spent, alone, developing a character’s backstory will pay off.

The performances of Ewen Bremner and Jonny Lee Miller stand out in ways that suggest extensive emotional preparation.  (I’ll try to write about them without spoiling the plot)  I worked with Ewen on the very first piece of film I directed, when he was in his …

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The session I SHOULD have called at Devoted & Disgruntled or Why fringe theatre is only for trustofarians

Last Saturday I went to Devoted and Disgruntled 12: What shall we do about Theatre and the Performing Arts Now in Bristol, hosted by Improbable. For the uninitiated it is an open space event - a sort of free for all conference, where attendees make up the seminar agenda when they arrive.

I'd never been to one before and it was an engaging experience to say the least. I didn't call a session (though now I realise I should have hence the blog), but went to a broad range from '(How) can we teach playwrighting' (I had stuff to say about that); 'Mothers who make'; 'Can you be an artist in the evenings and weekends'; and the one that inspired this blog: 'Come and rant at two White Male Artistic Directors'. That last one got me curious for sure.

I bumbled bee-d into it for the last 15 mins as I'd got caught up in another conversation and in fact (disappointingly) no one was ranting at these two Artistic Directors at all. This was because they were talking about things …

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