Welcome to The Valve
Login
Register


Valve Links

The Front Page
Statement of Purpose

John Holbo - Editor
Scott Eric Kaufman - Editor
Aaron Bady
Adam Roberts
Amardeep Singh
Andrew Seal
Bill Benzon
Daniel Green
Jonathan Goodwin
Joseph Kugelmass
Lawrence LaRiviere White
Marc Bousquet
Matt Greenfield
Miriam Burstein
Ray Davis
Rohan Maitzen
Sean McCann
Guest Authors

Laura Carroll
Mark Bauerlein
Miriam Jones

Past Valve Book Events

cover of the book Theory's Empire

Event Archive

cover of the book The Literary Wittgenstein

Event Archive

cover of the book Graphs, Maps, Trees

Event Archive

cover of the book How Novels Think

Event Archive

cover of the book The Trouble With Diversity

Event Archive

cover of the book What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts?

Event Archive

cover of the book The Novel of Purpose

Event Archive

The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Happy Trails to You

What’s an Encyclopedia These Days?

Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Intimate Enemies: What’s Opera, Doc?

Alphonso Lingis talks of various things, cameras and photos among them

Feynmann, John von Neumann, and Mental Models

Support Michael Sporn’s Film about Edgar Allen Poe

Philosophy, Ontics or Toothpaste for the Mind

Nazi Rules for Regulating Funk ‘n Freedom

The Early History of Modern Computing: A Brief Chronology

Computing Encounters Being, an Addendum

On the Origin of Objects (towards a philosophy of computation)

Symposium on Graeber’s Debt

The Nightmare of Digital Film Preservation

Richard Petti on Occupy Wall Street: America HAS a Ruling Class

Bill Benzon on Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?

Nick J. on The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Bill Benzon on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Norma on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Bill Benzon on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

john balwit on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on That Shakespeare Thing

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

JoseAngel on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on Objects and Graeber's Debt

Bill Benzon on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on Objects and Graeber's Debt

Advanced Search

Articles
RSS 1.0 | RSS 2.0 | Atom

Comments
RSS 1.0 | RSS 2.0 | Atom

XHTML | CSS

Powered by Expression Engine
Logo by John Holbo

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

 


Blogroll

2blowhards
About Last Night
Academic Splat
Acephalous
Amardeep Singh
Beatrice
Bemsha Swing
Bitch. Ph.D.
Blogenspiel
Blogging the Renaissance
Bookslut
Booksquare
Butterflies & Wheels
Cahiers de Corey
Category D
Charlotte Street
Cheeky Prof
Chekhov’s Mistress
Chrononautic Log
Cliopatria
Cogito, ergo Zoom
Collected Miscellany
Completely Futile
Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind
Conversational Reading
Critical Mass
Crooked Timber
Culture Cat
Culture Industry
CultureSpace
Early Modern Notes
Easily Distracted
fait accompi
Fernham
Ferule & Fescue
Ftrain
GalleyCat
Ghost in the Wire
Giornale Nuovo
God of the Machine
Golden Rule Jones
Grumpy Old Bookman
Ideas of Imperfection
Idiocentrism
Idiotprogrammer
if:book
In Favor of Thinking
In Medias Res
Inside Higher Ed
jane dark’s sugarhigh!
John & Belle Have A Blog
John Crowley
Jonathan Goodwin
Kathryn Cramer
Kitabkhana
Languagehat
Languor Management
Light Reading
Like Anna Karina’s Sweater
Lime Tree
Limited Inc.
Long Pauses
Long Story, Short Pier
Long Sunday
MadInkBeard
Making Light
Maud Newton
Michael Berube
Moo2
MoorishGirl
Motime Like the Present
Narrow Shore
Neil Gaiman
Old Hag
Open University
Pas au-delà
Philobiblion
Planned Obsolescence
Printculture
Pseudopodium
Quick Study
Rake’s Progress
Reader of depressing books
Reading Room
ReadySteadyBlog
Reassigned Time
Reeling and Writhing
Return of the Reluctant
S1ngularity::criticism
Say Something Wonderful
Scribblingwoman
Seventypes
Shaken & Stirred
Silliman’s Blog
Slaves of Academe
Sorrow at Sills Bend
Sounds & Fury
Splinters
Spurious
Stochastic Bookmark
Tenured Radical
the Diaries of Franz Kafka
The Elegant Variation
The Home and the World
The Intersection
The Litblog Co-Op
The Literary Saloon
The Literary Thug
The Little Professor
The Midnight Bell
The Mumpsimus
The Pinocchio Theory
The Reading Experience
The Salt-Box
The Weblog
This Public Address
This Space: The Fire’s Blog
Thoughts, Arguments & Rants
Tingle Alley
Uncomplicatedly
Unfogged
University Diaries
Unqualified Offerings
Waggish
What Now?
William Gibson
Wordherders

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Acting!

Posted by Lawrence LaRiviere White on 05/15/08 at 10:26 PM

Allow me to riff off an old post over at Peli Grietzer’s Second Balcony. In it, Peli bemoans his inadequacy when it comes to appreciating acting. For an example, he considers Hugh Laurie, who is able to do “embarassing”:

as well as “cool”:

and decides that the yawning size of the gap indicates genius. But he also recognizes that such a perception is not exactly fine-tuned. I don’t think Peli should be too hard on himself. The Academy voters don’t seem to have that much more sophisticated an understanding. Take a male with gross developmental disablities (Rain Main) or a female who’s willing to make herself look ugly (Monster), turn it up to 11, and that’s Acting!

But I too wish I knew more about acting. One of the many things I have failed to do in my life is attend much theater. Somehow I think it would help me better understand the inherent theatricality of all poetry. But if I may add another example of the kind of obvious Acting! that impresses me, I’d like to say a couple of things about Geoffrey Rush’s performance in The Life and Death of Peter Sellars.

And I’m serious, only a couple of things. First off, if you haven’t heard of the movie, that’s because it got trapped on HBO, who financed the production, but didn’t want to finance the promotion that a theatrical (that word again!) release would have entailed. Stuck on the small screen, Rush’s turn never made the general impression it could have.

Second, I think the most difficult screen acting to do is playing another major screen actor, trying to supplant, if only for the run-time of the movie, an indelible screen presence. If it isn’t just a bit part in a movie, it comes off (to me at least) as a make-up project, as in, they sure got him or her to look like him or her, or they sure didn’t. For Rush to take on such an singular figure as Sellars certainly took a lot of nerve. Before I saw Life and Death I didn’t expect him to succeed, but afterwards, I was quite amazed.

Third, Rush goes one further than just doing Sellars. Interspersed throughout, the script has the Sellars character playing other characters in the film, such as his first wife, his mother, Stanley Kubrick, etc. These usually take place as each character is exiting (usually with a great push) his life. Stills of these scenes appear at the end of this short:

The Kubrick bit was particularly stunning. A la Grietzer, I’m going to say that playing an actor playing another character who has appeared in the film is a tour de force, to say the least. And I should. Say the least, that is.

Fourth, Sellar’s underhanded backing out of the part of Major Kong saved the movie. Not only did it allow the Slim Pickens performance, which is a supreme delight, but it saved his own performances in the other characters. He would have been a farce as the cowboy bomber pilot, that is, he would have gone from playing farce to being a farce. So the broken foot ruse might be evidence that Sellars knew more than Kubrick did.


Comments

Add a comment:

Name:
Email:
Location:
URL:

 

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below: