Friday, October 11, 2013

Method Could Endanger Your Life

For those young thespians in the world who have chosen the course of method acting for their expressive medium in providing what they consider realism in the role they have undertaken a word of caution: Method Could Endanger Your Life.

Method has been around since the first actors performed on those cold raining nights through the embers of the burning fire in caves but it found structure through the great acting coach Lee Strasberg in the 1930’s. It has been the approach of favor for such renowned actors as Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Daniel Day Lewis, Dustin Hoffman, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson and Tom Hanks, just to name of view of the great ones.

The style, also used by teachers like Stella Adler and the Actor Studio’s Robert Lewis, allows the actor to try and become one with their character, accessing within their own psyche the mental, emotional and psychological essence of their part, and, in the extreme, the actual physical characteristics of their character. During performances this style often creeps into the actor's off-camera or off-stage lives during the time they are “in character.” This was proven to be the case in two particular individuals, Robert De Niro and Tom Hanks, who had changed their physical appearance to the point of losing and gaining a tremendous amount of body fat for their roles in such films as “Raging Bull” and “Castaway.” Tom Hanks has done this kind of extreme makeover on more than one occasion for his award winning performances in “Forrest Gump” and “Philadelphia Story.”

While the application of Method may have proven award winning for actors like Hanks, De Niro and Brando, it also has come with a price. For Orson Welles and Marlon Brando it led to an inability to control their weight in latter years of their lives because of the extremes they put their physical makeup through over the course of their careers. Their excesses with Method led to a condition resembling insulin resistance and symptoms of hair loss, muscle weakness, joint pain and long periods of depressive behavior which they both experienced over the course of their lifetimes.

For Tom Hanks, his taking on roles that Method, his acting choice, required him to vary his weight from obese to extreme thinness has paid its price for the three-time Academy Award winner with the recent news that he has acquired Type II Diabetes most likely as a result of those pendulum swings. While this is the most common form of diabetic disease it can be brought on by extremes in damage done to the body which are preventable.

Not a lot is known about the private life of Mr. De Niro, most likely the greatest living method actor still making films today, and his bout with prostate cancer is not likely a result of his style, yet, like fellow thespian Mickey Rourke, the dangers to the mental and physical well being of the actor are not in question.

Without any doubt the Strasberg/Stanislavski Method System of acting has produced some of the greatest performers of the theatrical and film arts in the history of mankind. However, to those just entering this time-honored profession be cautious and don’t feel it is necessary to utilize it for each and every single role that will come your way.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Why Won't President Obama Negotiate?

Why won’t President Obama negotiate with the Congress over the lack of what he calls an acceptable budget bill that has shut down a large part of the Federal government?

There are several reasons why Mr. Obama doesn’t feel compelled to try and work out a compromising solution(s) to the current budget and shutdown woes facing the nation. First, he doesn’t need to. There is no office for him to be running for once his final term is complete as President. Secondly, his minions in the mainstream media, such as those over at MSNBC, CBS, ABC and CNN have been pounding into the heads of their half-conscious viewers that it is the GOP who are to blame for not giving the President and his Democratic pals in the House and Senate every last thing they want without so much as a bend over and thank you. Thirdly, the President finds himself in the precarious position of openly speaking out of both sides of his mouth, that is if anyone in the mainstream media would take the time to remind their sheep in the audience how this President, while a Senator during the Bush Presidency, refused to vote to increase the debt limit; the very thing he is asking GOP members of the House and Senate to now do under his leadership. Finally, unlike the last President faced with a government shutdown, Mr. Bill Clinton, who could be seen nearly everyday meeting with members from both sides of the aisle of the House and Senate, working on a compromise-laced bill that offered a little something for all three sides and eventually coming to an understanding that lead to a curbing of the shutdown that would have lasted much longer. Mr. Obama is either completely unwilling or unable to compromise on anything at all, particularly on certain aspects of his unpopular Affordable Healthcare Act. To do so opens up way too many questions that this President would be hard-pressed to answer before the American people. Questions like:

Why have exemptions to certain aspects of the healthcare law been granted to some special groups such as unions, Congressional staffers and aides and some businesses that have been favorable to this President and his administration?

Why won’t this President support a resolution from the GOP that is designed to make ObamaCare fair across the board by making all members of Congress (the House and Senate) fall under the same Affordable Healthcare plan as every other American worker and citizen?

Why did the Democratic-led Senate shoot down said fair resolution in order to keep their current healthcare plan over that provided under the President’s Affordable Healthcare Act?

Could it be that the Democratic members of Congress finally got around to actually reading the Act they so hurriedly passed without so much as an initial look-through and see it for the flawed bill it is and want no part of it for themselves or their staff?

The Federal government has shutdown. Next, the President may be willing to allow this nation to renege on its debt literally bringing the country down to its economic knees and a possible state of financial instability it won’t recover from if allowed to continue for more than just a couple of days. And all this because this President won’t or can’t do what every President before him has done; learn the art of compromise and negotiation with an adverse Congress.

I always knew this guy’s ego was huge; those Greco-Roman pillars erected during his first election should have been clue enough even for the mildly intelligent thinker; however, to let the nation sink into the depths of an economic quagmire over issues that have solutions if one is willing to be a statesman over the politician is proof positive that President Obama is hell-bent on always getting it his way over the well being of the very nation he twice swore in an oath to protect and defend.

Question is: Who can defend and protect the nation from him?

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