Other Writings & Videos

Other Writings

Role Distance: On Stage and On the Merry-Go-Round

No issue in acting theory has been more discussed over the past twenty-five centuries than whether an actor should simply manifest his or her part through some sort of technical virtuosity, or experience the role through a process of emotional self-transportation. It is a dialectic Joseph Roach considers “the historic, continuing, and apparently inexhaustible  …  Read the Essay »

The English Secret

For many years, American actors have lamented the fact that New York theatre audiences (and critics even more so) have reserved their greatest admiration for British actors. Just to name some recent English winners of the Broadway Tony Award: Ralph Fiennes, Maggie Smith, Janet McTeer, Diana Rigg, Nigel Hawthorne  …  Read the Essay »

The Eyes Have It

When I was a boy, I took boxing lessons. This was at a time when boxing was still a mainstream sport: colleges had boxing teams, and boys in my hometown of Washington, D.C. would hang around Goldie’s Gym and learn how to make the left jab, the right cross, the uppercut, and, when they had more experience, Kid Gavilan’s famous bolo punch  …  Read the Essay »

Tears in Shakespeare

Did Shakespeare’s actors actually cry on stage? And if so, how did they manage to do it? And what might that say about the emotional “realism” of the acting in Shakespeare’s company? Characters shed tears throughout the canon; moreover, they do it while being observed by other characters. The words “weep” and “tears”  …  Read the Essay »

Pozzo’s Knook, Beckett’s Boys, and Santa Claus

Fifty years ago, I wrote to Samuel Beckett asking him why he did not include three sentences about Pozzo’s “knook” when he translated his En attendant Godot into Waiting for Godot. Beckett replied that it was “because the scene dragged. I simplified English version accordingly  …  Read the Essay »

Videos

Acting One, Day One

In this 35 minute video, Robert Cohen illustrates his “GOTE” system and its four basic principles of acting: Goals, the Other people the character communicates to try to win those goals, the Tactics he or she uses, and his or her Expectation for victory. Cohen presents an exercise in which students recite the Pledge of  …  Read More »

The N-Town Passion Play

(Ludus Coventriae) A 67 minute video providing a faithful rendition of part of a Corpus Christi cycle that was performed in the city of Lincoln during the 15th and 16th centuries. Directed by Cohen (who also plays Judas Iscariot), this performance features authentic costumes, scenery based on a drawing from the time, and period music.  …  Read More »