The Purinton Primer: Everyone Loves a Flop

With Kenyon’s production of Moose Murders complete, I still have one major question. No, it doesn’t have to do with the play itself. (While we’re on the subject, though: Why does Joe come back as a moose? How does a little girl hide in a car that is supposedly in a ravine? Why is Nelson conspiring with three people? If Nurse Dagmar isn’t a nurse, how did she meet the family and decide to masquerade as a nurse in the first place?)

My main question is: why are we so intrigued by things that are terrible? The Black Box Theater was packed for the show last Friday, with a sizable line forming before the house was even open. Then again, I shouldn’t be surprised that this is how we react to bad theatre — it has always captured our attention. By far the most talked-about Broadway show in recent history is Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, singled out specifically for its poor reception. And despite expensive tickets, the show is holding strong and consistently getting one of the largest audiences on Broadway. The truth is that we love a flop. Continue reading

The Purinton Primer: Riding in Cars with Lars

After my exciting turn in the starring role of Hamlet this past weekend, I have taken the time to consider my acting career. Like everyone, I’ve had some major successes and a few flops. All in all, I’m happy with how I’ve done as an actor thus far, but I’ve come to the sad realization that I peaked when I was 11 years old. Continue reading

The Purinton Primer: Stanislavski and Friends

In my last post, I discussed the difficulty of giving exams for acting classes. In this post, I’m addressing a similar dilemma: the idea of using a textbook in acting classes. On paper, it doesn’t make a lot of sense — acting is something you need to learn hands-on. Nevertheless, there have been several textbooks written on acting.

The most prominent of these is An Actor Prepares, written by Konstantin Stanislavski, who I promised I would talk about in my last post. Yes, I have now linked to the same post twice. My goal is to one day have a total readership on this blog that is equal to the readership of just one of Becca Hafter’s posts. So, read that post. And then read it again. And then you can read it again here. Continue reading

The Purinton Primer: The Actor’s Exam

Originally, I was planning to make this week’s post a reflection on the teachings of Konstantin Stanislavski. It would have been a look at the merits and demerits of his approaches to acting and a commentary on the writing style through which he chooses to convey these ideas. And yes, it would have been hilarious.

Konstantin, you party animal.

Unfortunately, you’re going to have to wait until my next post to read this fascinating material. I hope you’re excited.

The reason that post will have to wait is that, like most of you, I am focused on my workload over finals week, and I have a lot of work this week. (My last final is tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.) In no way does this make me unique. The campus is abuzz with studious and stressed students. What does make me a bit more unusual is that this is one of my first final weeks where I’ve actually felt that I had a lot of work.

I’ll pause so you can give me the finger.

Continue reading

The Purinton Primer: The Ballad of Francisco

Actors are notoriously proud people. This isn’t criticism, simply fact. Once an actor is cast in a certain role, he’ll convince himself that it’s the most important one in the play.

Pictured: 12 leading roles.

This belief is never mean-spirited or a question of one actor being superior to another — the ensemble is the most important thing to an actor. It just naturally occurs. We become defensive of our roles, and our insistence that our role is most important is simply a manifestation of the confidence with which we approach our work. Continue reading