Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Good writers write...

...great writers steal. So the adage goes. I suppose the same could be true for performers. I do not wish to steal from other actors, however.

What I do want to do is maybe rent some of the old classic court room dramas, and see if any of the actors playing lawyers have anything to offer me. (For inspiration not theft ;) ) To coin a phrase, I am thinking of looks, actions, and mannerisms that would appear "lawyerly"for the era.

Just as a reminder, I am playing Thomas Mara, an assistant New York district attorney in "Miracle on 34th Street". His job, near the middle and end of act 2, is to prove Kris Kringle is insane, as opposed to being Santa.

I already have one idea, that if a proper costume piece can be found, should work nicely. I plan to wear glasses, (with approval from the costume designer.) These make an excellent prop for a courtroom proceeding I think. Put them on to read papers, take them off to ask a question.

Those of you familiar with the story are aware, as am I, that it is not the most climactic courtroom scene in stage history. However, I always seek to be authentic. If I am not authentic to my part, my scene will ring false, small as it may be. Mara is a prosecutor from the 1940's, and that is what I want to emulate. (As much as possible at least.)

I frequently write a back story for a character to give him some depth, and I may do that for Mara. (Stay tuned for ideas I come up with on that one.) Yet right now I am not being so nuanced. I am just thinking of the much broader strokes,

I am not totally unfamiliar with "lawyerly" mannerisms. I was in mock trial club for a time back in the old high school days. Yet the more inspiration the merrier.

Dear readers, any suggestions as to good black and white courtroom flicks from which to draw "lawyerly" ideas consistent with the 1940's? Feel free to post some here.

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