Posts Tagged ‘Academy Award’

From the Editor’s Perch

November 7, 2012

Sometimes, we’re not the best person to present our personality.

Outsource Your Personality


Neil Simon, the playwright, has a face that is about as engaging as a cue ball.  I find it unnerving to look at his photo.  His plays however do quite well.  I’ve enjoyed his plays and my intent here is not to dish Mr. Simon.  However, anyone who has watched the Academy Awards has got to have noticed the charisma gap between the screenwriters and other behind-the-scene workers who win prizes – and the actors who win prizes for performing their work.  It’s especially remarkable when you see them all packed together for a photo.  You think, ‘nebish’, ‘nebish’, ‘cool’, ‘cool!’, ‘nebish’,…

I’ve wondered if playwriting isn’t for people whose personal charm does not match their ambitions, because playwrights are always shopping for just the right actor to carry their play.  As a vehicle, playwrights find themselves faulty.   They’re always looking.   They are always remarking, ‘Oh, if I could only get __________ to play __(me)________,’.

It’s an unnerving process to hear the first reading of one’s play.  The actors rarely are what one hears in one’s head.  And you just have to learn to live with what another person does with you.  It’s rather like having a talented stranger fill in a day of your life….  ‘Jeeeeze!’ you think.  At first, it’s like cringing while you watch a seriously bad driver.  ‘I guess this is what I’m going to look like to people.  Maybe when he’s done, I’ll get my wife some flowers.  That may help.’  However, after all is said and done, the script usually looks better with actors.  After all, that’s why you use them.

Recently, I found something better.

My son has only been in this country about a year and a half.  But he is blessed with an unusual amount of charisma and stage presence.  It’s unavoidable that he is going to copy much of how I act and what I say.  The other day I was watching him, while realizing this, and was struck, happily, by the result.  ‘When he says it, it really WORKS,’ I thought gleefully.  ‘When he puts on my personality, it really sings.’  It’s like getting my wings.  What a happy thing to observe.

Also, kind of odd.

Photo by Carl Nelson

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