When it lights up, it reveals a typical dorm room setup. Julian bangs on the door behind the scenes. When opening it, his scene partner discovers him with an expression that on the other actors’ faces appeared funny, intriguing, and endearing. Julian, though, is all anxiety and endless possibilities. Since all inebriated people stumble and stutter, Julian makes a show of slurring his words as he painfully approaches the stage. He goes above and beyond to show me that he finished his work. He’s genuinely trying to seem angry by clenching his hands. He might as well be giving a silent performance. Despite periodically facing his scene partner, he hasn’t paid any attention to anything she has told him. He is providing meticulously planned, manufactured line readings with strict focus and little consideration for or connection to the circumstances. And a tiny piece of me perishes. Julian is not your typical self-centered actor. Julian is not a ham. Julian is affable, loyal, and sincere. He is always fully attentive and listens both with his head and his heart while he is in class. He goes above and beyond to be helpful and kind. He is just as willing to help move a difficult set piece or resolve a sound issue as he is to encourage a fellow student. However, Julian isn’t doing well on stage right now, and my heart hurts for him.
He is horrified when I offer him sincere criticism in the most empathetic way I can. He has invested so much time and effort into preparing and has such a strong drive to succeed that he finds it difficult to understand why he is failing. There is no inherent right to act. The words exact, knowledgeable, emotionally resonant, transcendent, moving, and evocative are just a few examples of the many descriptive adjectives that can be used to characterize acting.