by Zoe Pollock
Sheila Heti wants actors to go beyond method acting and create a style for our time:
The actors we consider “best”like Streep or Daniel Day Lewis or, closer to home, Sarah Polleyimbue their art with subtlety; they do the smallest amount necessary to get the emotion of the character across. For performing in this way, we call them “good,” while Elizabeth Berkeley in Showgirls is “bad.” We say she is overacting, and understand her portrayal to be implausible, phoneynot how a person behaves. When we see a “good” actor, we call her that because we imagine she is accurately representing a human. But what this “good” actor more accurately represents is an era. She presents the psychology, cosmology, religion and politics of the dayand, in so doing, embodies what we understand the human to be. ...
We are now in an age in which to be a human means, in part, to be able to choose what sort of human one wants to be. Are there any actors who express this new world, this new idea of the human?
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.