By Paul Elsam
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Extra info for Acting Characters: 16 Simple Steps From Rehearsal to Performance
Here’s an example of power at work. There’s a least one example of each type of power. 38 01ACharacters 1/2/06 11:45 am Page 39 planning to act A park keeper sees a homeless male youth sleeping on a park bench in a city centre. The park keeper wakes the youth and orders him to move on (1): the youth gets up and shuffles away. The youth meets a pretty (6) female tourist, an off-duty policewoman, who asks him the way to the cathedral; they chat, and he gives precise instructions (4). As they part, the woman offers the youth some loose change (3): he takes it.
Until a ship comes we are three men who are going to do our best for you ladies. LADY MARY (with a curl of the lip) Mr. Ernest does no work. CRICHTON (cheerily) But he will, my lady. LADY MARY I doubt it. CRICHTON (confidently, but perhaps thoughtlessly) No work – no dinner – will make a great change in Mr. Ernest. LADY MARY No work – no dinner. When did you invent that rule, Crichton? CRICHTON (loaded with bamboo) I didn’t invent it, my lady. I seem to see it growing all over the island ... Act Three – entitled ‘The Happy Home’ – brings us up to date with events of the previous two years, which have seen Crichton emerge as the unchallenged leader of the group, a man who has built a home bursting with desert-island luxuries.
A whole episode of the classic TV comedy Fawlty Towers revolves around the mistaken belief that a customer is a top restaurant critic. But perhaps the best movie exploration of mistaken power takes place in the film Being There. An ageing and mentally subnormal gardener (Peter Sellers), thrust blinking into the modern world after the death of his employer, is run over and then nursed by a wealthy friend of the US President. His social shyness, and his randomly spoken advice on how to help plants grow, leads his all-powerful new friends to adopt him as a brilliant business guru who speaks in metaphors.
Acting Characters: 16 Simple Steps From Rehearsal to Performance by Paul Elsam