TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center

Of Good and Bad Acting

By Joy Della Ocloo

Well hallo there lovers and fighters. I am thoroughly inspired by your comments. I want to say thank you to the poster Angel. Few of you exist among the commentators I have here.

When did it become wrong to express personal opinions? Which is why we war all the time in Africa. The humility and courtesy to say, you know what, that is your opinion and I respect it is not there. You cannot expect everyone to be on the same page with you. Variety they say is the spice of life.

But let me use this opportunity to discuss what a good actress or actor is. It has been said that acting is "living truthfully in imaginary circumstances". A good actor therefore is one who can EASILY replicate the life of the character he/she is asked to play. When I look for good acting, I look for RAWNESS. An actor who can be stripped off self and embrace another individuality.

I am NOT in anyway referring to reciting lines or screaming or "acting like a bad girl" or all those childish mannerisms of frowning, rolling eyes, licking lips, gasping for air, wringing hands and all that crap to show some form of emotion.

The audience are not idiots you know. (well, some of them are simple-minded and you can sell anything on a TV screen to them in the name of actors). When a plot or a need has been desired, as human beings, there is an obvious reaction, thus we know that yes, you will be angry or sad or whatever. All that over the top gesticulations are not to me acting. They are performing for fame and money. (to fund belts, shoes, bags, SUVs and pride).

Now, why did I put Ramsey Nouah where I put him? because he is not a best actor to me. Come on, this boy speaks "slangs" even in village roles. Kate Henshaw needs to stick to acting comedy films because she has no screen presence what-so-ever. Genevieve, Stella, Kate, Chioma and a host of others do this really annoying thing when they want to act angry. They do something with their mouths. Like making it tight and speaking though really taut lips and squeezing the bridge of their noses to show some form of intense anger. Come one guys. Uche Jombo is the worst. Are the nerves in her lips or face loose? Mike Ezuronye, in fact, my heart will stop if i talk about him. is he a woman?

Watch Joke silva play an angry woman, or Bimbo Akintola, Justus Esiri scared me in eagles bride, when he buried Olu Jacobs alive. Now that is acting!!! Watch Olu Jacobs get angry and foam at the mouth. There are times when I want to kill Pete Edochie for that smug look he gives when he is doing something wrong. Kanayo!! oh my gosh. Talk of range, talking of bringing a different element to every movie. In after the fight, he was forced to seek comfort with his sister in law sexually, he nailed it. In roles where he has to be a pitiful man, he aces it. Liz Benson in sins of the father or bridgestone.

Notice Ini Edo, licking her lips, snorting, gasping and rolling her eyes, then see what she did in when oceans touch. that is why I put her in OK, that with a better director, she can become better. Chioma in Sins of the flesh showed she can become better if she takes life a bit more seriously.

Good acting comes from good actors, and a not that the entire movie needs to become the actors vehicle but that the character the actors has been offered and the realm in which that character lives must be good too. A good and well developed story also helps the acting process, so does a good director. I have seen people who have never acted a day in their lives act well, why? they LISTEN to each other and to the director.

Let me leave you with this text:
This is a really hard question to answer because good/bad acting is, at least in part, very subjective. There have been many times where I have seen a play or movie with a friend and they have really liked the acting, and I've thought it was really bad, or vice versa.

Basically, the art of acting is to re-create life. Good acting should feel "real", natural, as though you were a fly on the wall watching real people interact. Bad actors memorize their lines, wait for their cue, then deliver their lines. They don't connect with the other actors. They don't seem as though they are really feeling what is happening. They look like they are acting. Good actors LISTEN to each other and react to what is going on. They don't just "act" when it is their turn to speak, but are actually "in the moment", reacting to each other and the things that are happening around them AS IF it were really happening to them right now for the first time. They make it look really easy, because they don't look as though they are acting; they look as though they are just up there living these events. It is actually incredibly difficult to do and takes years of study, practice and hard work to do it well.

It has been said that acting is "living truthfully in imaginary circumstances". Good acting is far more than just memorizing lines, learning blocking (the actual moves an actor makes on the stage or in film), and entering and exiting on cue. It is the art of incorporating the character into yourself, digging down into your own emotions and experiences and REALLY EXPERIENCING the circumstances, emotions and physicality of the character. Young children are natural actors, because they enter completely into the world of make-believe - when they play, they believe everything that is happening. But as we get older that ability to let ourselves believe and live fully in those imaginary circumstance is lost. We develop inhibitions, personal and societal. We find it next to impossible to immerse ourselves in the world of the play. That, among many other things, is what good actors have to relearn.

Good acting is neither overacting nor underacting; the actions and reactions are appropriate to the circumstances; the emotions are believable. When we see good acting we BELIEVE what is happening, it touches us emotionally, it makes our heart race, makes us laugh and cry - and not just on the surface because it's silly or startling, but because we really feel for these people and find ourselves involved with and connected to them.

When we watch bad acting, the reactions don't seem to fit the action. The emotions may be too big or it may seem as though the actor isn't really feeling anything, but is just repeating lines they memorized without understanding why they are saying them. We don't believe them. We don't connect with them. They look like they are "ACTING", not living.

Finally, our actors need to invest some of the shoes and bag money into buying books. When they travel to America, instead of trying to fake accent, and shop, go to Barnes and Noble and buy books that can help enhance your skills. They also need to humble themselves and get some training, not in theater arts, because film and theater are two very different things. So bragging about your theater art degree its nothing.