I am an actor’s actor. I do all sorts of subtle things on stage that other actor’s appreciate. To them, perhaps, I’m almost transparently skilled. You might not realize what I’m doing, it might not be clear to you immediately, it might never become clear. To those of you in the audience tonight that have ever been on stage, though, I know you know what I’m up to. I know you see what I’m doing right now, and that you have tremendous respect for it. That you admire it.
You might be thinking “She’s trying to appear almost as if she’s not acting at all, a sort of less-is-more with a dash of heightened emotion.” That would almost be true, if I weren’t so calculating though laconic. You might be imagining that behind my eyes is a complex series of motivations. No, no. It’s less than that and more.
Look here. See this area of my face? You didn’t even think about the effect it has on the rest of your experience with my face. You can’t imagine how important this zone can be. There’s this book that only the actors here have heard of, a book called The Uneasy, which is by a Taiwanese child prodigy. That book highlights the importance of this area of the face. It is also known, far and wide, as the definitive text on sotto voce.
Actors see what I’m doing and know I’ve read that book. Actors see what I’m doing and they see the cagey way I circle a line and then attack when you least expect it. Actors envy, perhaps, my wicked way around a verb, the way I slide adjectives around my teeth, the way I seem to pull new nouns out of old ones. You might not. That’s why I’m not even really doing this with you in mind. You’re there, I see you. About as well as you see me.