I always strive to be the best actor I can be, during any given show or scene. I never “phone it in”, as they say.
Yet I, and everyone else who acts can sometimes get to the point where complex methods and strategic approaches are either too much, or in some cases, just do not work. In such times, uncommon as they may be for me, I find it acceptable to make use of an acting trick here or there. I will share one with you here today.
Just to reiterate, tricks and short cuts should be an occasional tool for the actor, not a well worn method of the actor. Use them when time or energy are of the essence. Use them when you have struck out in other ways to make a moment true, (and it always has to be true on stage of course.) Use them when you are drowning in your on complexity and need to take a step back into simplicity. (Something I have been known to experience.)
To make a long story short, use them sparingly.
That being said, one of my “tricks” is employed when I need to “fall in love” in a short amount of time. Say, a love at first sight moment.
I think of a power ballad playing in my head the moment I am to fall in love. It helps if you like the song you are thinking of. The most effective part is that crescendo either right before the chorus, or right in the middle of same.
I have found that when one thinks of one of those power love songs, one’s face and in particular one’s eyes tend to respond, almost involuntarily, in certain ways. Those ways replicate the appearance of falling in love quite well I have found.
Truth be told, rare is the play I have been called upon to portray goofy “love at first sight” moments. The use of this trick is made more acceptable to me because of that infrequency. Furthermore, the few times when I did have to use it were during neither climactic nor pivotal moments in the production. If ever a moment of “falling in love” were the main focus of an entire act or something, I would be more organic in my approach.
Besides, sometimes it shakes things up on stage, and makes them more fun. You need to be having that if you are going to portray falling in love with someone you barely know.
For the sake of the curious, the song I have used is Almost Paradise, a duet by Ann Wilson and Mike Reno. It has that excellent, slow build to the big refrain. Perfect for what I am talking about. (I only use the chorus.)
Just don’t use this trick if your scene is heavy on lines. You might say the lyrics to your song instead of what the script has. (Though I have never done that, better safe than sorry.)