As audiences, we have certain expectations when we attend a performance, whether it be a play, movie, or concert. We expect the actors to transport us to another world, to make us believe in their characters and their story. But what are the unspoken agreements between the audience and the actor? What are the expectations that we bring to every performance?
Firstly, we expect the actor to be fully committed to their performance. This means not only learning their lines and blocking, but also investing emotionally in their character. We want to see the actor fully engaged in the story, so we can be too.
Secondly, we expect the actor to understand their role in the story. Whether they are the protagonist or antagonist, comic relief or tragic hero, we want to see them fulfill that role to the best of their ability. This means not only playing their part well, but also understanding how their character fits into the larger narrative.
Thirdly, we expect the actor to be present and in the moment. This means being fully engaged with their fellow performers, reacting authentically to what is happening on stage or screen. We want to see the actor listening to their co-stars, responding to them, and being fully present in the scene.
Finally, we expect the actor to be respectful of the audience. This means not breaking character, not laughing at their own jokes, and not engaging in distracting or disruptive behavior. We want to be able to fully immerse ourselves in the performance, without any outside distractions.
As actors, it is important to understand these unspoken agreements with our audience. By fully committing to our performances, understanding our role in the story, being present in the moment, and respecting our audience, we can create a truly immersive experience that will transport our audience to another world. And as copy editors, it is our job to ensure that these expectations are met through clear, concise writing and editing that enhances the performance.