The art of acting is a strange bird. In writer-director Lawrence “Law” Watford’s Shadow Acting, a teacher pushes the wrong buttons to get the performance he needs.
Shadow Acting takes place in your typical basement acting studio; those of you who act know exactly what this is. Tonight, several pairs of students are set to perform improvised scenes. Teacher Anton’s (Bobby DeJesus) goal is for each actor to bring their personal experience into the scene and dig deep, becoming guttural.
Trouble comes when Micah (Benjamin Cardona) and Stella (Genia Lear Morgan), a working professional actor, start their scene. Anton’s instructions are to be “authentic” and “deliberate,” but he sees Stella missing the point with a decision she makes. He insists that she “react” and not “respond.” This note is not taken well.
“…he sees Stella missing the point with a decision she makes and insists that she ‘react’ and not ‘respond.’“
Shadow Acting gets deep into the weeds of the art of acting. The idea is that excelling in acting means tapping into the experience and the emotions associated with these experiences. But what happens when the actor holds back, and the teacher wants them to rip into that wound? We become vulnerable and exposed.
Filmmaker Watford places us viewers right into the life of the actor and their emotional vulnerabilities on stage but then goes a step further with a very tough ending. The finale is the kind of scene that makes you want to watch Shadow Acting again. DeJesus and Morgan are fantastic as the leads and hold nothing back. Let me rephrase that: the two are deliberate in their performances.
For more information about Shadow Acting, visit the Divine Write Pictures website.
"…DeJesus and Morgan are fantastic..."