The main point of Cohen’s Acting Power is balance. In the book, he brings up concepts, sites examples, sometimes brings exercises to help his point, and restates the point. I personally did not like this book, but I did not hate it. At times, it was confusing, very vague, and hard to understand, but at the same time, this indicates the difficulty of the concepts Cohen is conveying. Many of the ideas and concepts in this book are hard to explain by word, much less typed word, so I gave this book more patience than I normally would with a regular textbook. One aspect that I did really like, was how Cohen brought everything back into focus in the last chapter on Alignment. Alignment is how an actor chooses to handle the four attributes to a performance; situation, character, style and performance. Proper alignment of how an actor handles the situation, the behavior and style of the character, and performing in front of an audience usually brings a good performance. It isn’t enough to get three out of four, because each attribute is important. Throughout the book, I found things that I had trouble grasping, and many times, they didn’t seem like they’re related to each other, but at the end of the book, the chapter on alignment, it all made much more sense to me. The book is structured like how alignment should be constructed. In the first two chapters it went through stuff about situations, then character, then style and performance. At the end, the book tied how everything relates.
I think that the most important thing I got from this book, is the relacom concepts. I found if I translate almost every line of a scene, the intentions reveal themselves, and the delivery of line, is much more convincing. Another concept that I have always wanted to express, but couldn’t find the words, is the idea of ethno-centricity. I can’t remember which chapter it was in, but it explained that everyone thinks their own world is the center, and to properly build a character, sometimes you must lose this ethno-centiricity.
Acting Power has not enhanced my acting as much as I would like it, but skimming this book for this question, I found that I had missed some concepts that previously, I did not understand. More and more often, I try to break down dialog in relacom terms, and see their intentions to comprehend things better. I feel that if I can maintain this habit, then my acting can improve.
by robert cohen