An Ensemble of French Films Rise The The Top by Erica Abeel (March 19, 2006)
True, the 11th edition of Rendez-vous with French Cinema offered no clear consensus on standouts. Absent, too, were high-profile auteur films, such as “Comedy of Power,” Claude Chabrol’s latest, unfinished at the time of the selection process; and the exciting product held in reserve, one can guess, for Cannes. Still, this year’s Rendez-vous yielded its own pleasures, including a couple of small gems. But its star attraction, perhaps, was the ensemble, the dazzling breadth of offerings, ranging from the character studies associated with French cinema (“Not Here to be Loved”), to mainstream comedy (“Orchestra Seats”), to a surreal tease (“La Moustache”), to a rejuvenated policier (“Le Petit Lieutenant.”)
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When the curtain went up, or the cameras rolled, she said, “I did the best I could.”
And because she always did just that, the absolute best she could, I will be forever inspired and motivated by, and grateful to the extraordinary Ms. Stapleton. May she rest in peace.
“The truth is, if it isn’t abused, the Method can help. The Method school of acting came from the theories of Konstantin Stanislavsky, director of the Moscow Arts Theatre. Stanislavsky encouraged actors to ‘respond as much to their own inner feelings as to the requirements of the text for dramatic effectiveness.’ While I believe it’s all well and good to give yourself over and plumb your own depths for the part, I’m afraid the Method often became a matter of self-indulgence and self-consciousness. Furthermore, I didn’t think it was the one and only way to do things any more than I believed that the Delsarte Method was the be-all and end-all. You have to be real and alive and fresh in the part each time. That’s your job, and there are many roads to good acting. I’ve been asked repeatedly what the “key” to acting is, and as far as I’m concerned, the main thing is to keep the audience awake.” — Maureen Stapleton, A Hell of a Life
Backstage, clutching her REDS Best Supporting Actress Oscar in her hands, Ms. Stapleton was asked what it felt like to be recognized as one of the greatest actresses in the world. “Not nearly as exciting,” she replied, “as it would be if I were acknowledged as one of the greatest lays in the world.”
I just returned from New York City where a reading was staged at the Vineyard Theatre of my new play “Youth In Asia”, and I’m extremely happy to report that it was truly remarkable.
The brilliant cast; Martin Moran, Brendan Sexton III, Marylouise Burke, Amelia Campbell, John Speredakos, Joe Jamrog and Ron Riley, brought the characters and the world of the play to full, multilayered, multidimensional life.
I want to thank them all again for making the evening a memorable one. I also want to thank Doug Aibel, Jennifer Garvey-Blackwell and Sarah Stern for making the Vineyard Theatre available for the event. You won’t find more extraordinary folks anywhere.
I’m a very lucky man. And don’t I know it!