RICHARD KILEY The actor explains acting methods to a drama teacher Autograph letter signed: "Richard Kiley", 2p, 8½x11, front and verso. No place, 1992 April 18. To "Dear Mr. Barch". In full: "I received your letter.

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The actor explains acting methods to a drama teacher
Autograph letter signed: "Richard Kiley", 2p, 8½x11, front and verso. No place, 1992 April 18. To "Dear Mr. Barch". In full: "I received your letter. I admire your diligence as a drama teacher, though your request is a little like asking a surgeon to explain removing a gall bladder. However I'll try. This is all overly simplified you understand; but so called "Method" acting (American-style) teaches that if the actor has a scene to play in which (for example) he discovers the dead body of his father - he, the actor should, in preparing for the role, explore his emotional memory and try to find a corresponding moment of loss; the death of a grandparent, a friend, or a beloved pet - some moment of shock and loss. He should retrieve, and (to a degree), relive that real loss in acting out the scene. That's one way. Personally, I subscribe to the teachings of Michael Chekhov (nephew of the great playwright Anton) who worked with Stanislavsky in Russia, and succeeded the latter as head of the Second Moscow Art Theatre. Mr. Chekhov says 'no' to the method outlined above. Why? Because in relying solely on emotional memory one can lose track of the play. He can get so caught in his own sad memory he may even break down and forget how the character would react. Maybe the character is a cold man, whereas the actor is warm-hearted. What happens then is that the play stops, the character dissolves, and we see a nice man crying his heart out - real tears and all. Touching, perhaps, but unrelated to the play! (over) What Mr. Chekhov suggests instead (and this too is a wild over-simplification), that we might trigger emotions by recalling a moment when we observed a tragedy - say the death of a child in a street accident. In this case, our heart is full - we feel for the grieving parent - but we are in control. Our heart is full, but our head is clear. What we feel is not so much passion as com-passion - a deep awareness of our common human condition. Now we are able to move as artists through the play - not just as realistic participants constantly swayed by private feelings. Your quotes from Coquelis and Arliss [English actor George Arliss (1868-1946)] could be distilled into Joseph Jefferson's simple dictum: 'keep a cool head and a warm heart.' I recommend you get a copy of Michael Chekhov's 'To the Actor' - published by Performing Arts Journal Publications, 325 Spring St., Rm. 318, N.Y., N.Y. 10013. Good luck to you and your Actors". In 1992, Kiley appeared in a made-for-TV movie, Mastergate, and he was seen on an episode of The Ray Bradbury Theater. Singer and actor Richard Kiley (1922-1999) won Tony Awards for Best Actor (Musical) for Redhead (1959) and Man of La Mancha (1966), for which he created his signature role as Don Quixote (as well as Cervantes). Kiley, who was also nominated for a Tony in the same category for No Strings (1962) and nominated in the Best Actor (Play) category for a 1987 revival of Arthur Miller's All My Sons, did very little singing in his film and television roles. Kiley, who appeared on television from early anthologies (Robert Montgomery Presents, Pulitzer Prize Playhouse; 1951) to Ally McBeal (1998), also had regular roles on such series as The Edge of Night (1961), A Year in the Life (1987-1988) and The Great Defender (1995), and he appeared in a number of made-for-TV movies and miniseries, including How the West Was Won (1977) and a starring role as Paddy Cleary in The Thorn Birds (1983). Kiley's film credits include Blackboard Jungle (1955), The Little Prince (1974), Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977), Jurassic Park (1993, Jurassic Park Tour Voice), Phenomenon (1996) and Patch Adams (1998). Lightly creased with folds, light vertial fold at the "c" of Richard. Light show through of writing. Fine condition.

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