Real or realistic?

Sincerity is the goal, especially when it is not genuine.

Bart Van Loon on 4th June 2023, Someren (NL)

During a workshop focused on the themes of truth and credibility, one of the highlights was a scene featuring a school headmaster verbally abusing a crying 17-year-old student, which culminated in both actors leaving the stage amidst the sounds suggesting physical violence.

During the workshop, we had been working diligently to translate genuine emotions into our characters, striving to be believable for our fellow actors and the audience.

After the intense scene, someone inquired from the actor portraying the headmaster whether they genuinely felt inclined towards abuse when faced with the vulnerability of the student. While aware of the principle of not being accountable for our imagination, I realized that the discussion following this question somewhat missed the mark. However, it did highlight an important aspect that had been overlooked in the workshop: the distinction between sincerity and genuineness.

Throughout this collection of quotes, there is a recurring emphasis on keeping things real. Yet, in the realm of theatre, our objective is to deliberately deviate from reality since that is in large part why people attend a theatrical performance in the first place.

It became apparent that our aim is not to portray genuine reactions. Such responses would quickly lead us into the politeness danger zone. Instead, what we seek are sincere reactions, particularly when they deviate from genuine expressions.