This third and final installment today is in response to a question asked of me by this fellow blogger.
He had a question about a very old post of mine, involving stage kissing. (In under a month, two people have left comments on posts from way back at the beginning of the blog. I love it.) The post he is referring to is this one.
In that post, I gave some tips on how to perform a stage kiss. D'Balz asked me how a director might interfere with a successful stage kiss. An interesting question indeed.
In my opinion, a director can be detrimental to a stage kiss when they try to over orchestrate the thing. Yes, in certain circumstances, a script may require a kiss to be choreographed step by step down tot he last minute detail. It happens. But overall, i think directions should be as broad and general as possible when directing an actual kiss, (as in lips actually contacting one another, as opposed to masking tricks which only LOOK like kisses.) It must evolve naturally. Though a director sometimes thinks they can and should micro-manage every last aspect of a performance, frequent readers of this blog know that I do not subscribe to that notion. Ergo, a kiss can look worse if a director forces it to go in a way he wants, as opposed to the way the two performers are comfortable. If the script calls for a kiss at a certain moment, than of course, it should occur at that moment. But a good director, who really wants things to look natural, will take his cues from the two performers in regards to the moments leading up to the kiss. Otherwise, it invites the worst kind of awkwardness.
That's my most detailed answer, I would say.
I think that a director can also indirectly be detrimental to a stage kiss, if they do not make certain to silence of of the hooting and snickering that is likely to take place among a cast on the community level, the first few times a kiss is rehearsed. Regardless of how seasoned performers may be, nobody likes to be ogled or taunted during such moments on stage. It is the director's responsibility to make sure the performers are comfortable, in order to get a good kiss out of them. A large part of that is to make sure everyone else in the cast is behaving themselves.
Sometimes this is done be rehearsing the kiss in private with just the involved actors and nobody else. But this can be overdone, as it puts off the need to get used to people watching it happen. So when the rest of the gang is there during a kissing rehearsal, it is vital that the director maintain an atmosphere of respect and civility.
I hope that answered your question, D'Balz. Thank you for asking it, and for visiting Always Off Book. Check back often for more acting thoughts!