Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Stage Presence

One of the students in my class is an actor.  He is certainly suited for it.  He is friendly, outgoing, and energetic.  His attitude is generally somewhere between ebullient and flamboyant.  Basically, he always has excellent stage presence.  He has a way of drawing attention to himself and making you remember him.  This is mostly a matter of movement and attitude.  As far as I can tell*, he is not much more attractive or handsome than the average healthy college student.

I had assumed that this was something he did on purpose, and I was always slightly suspicious that he was manipulating me in an attempt to get better grades.  But I am beginning to think that this quality is simply a natural part of him.  During the exam today, he was clearly not trying to attract any attention to himself.  He, like all the other students, was puzzling through the problems.  Like the other students, he would sometimes do things like scratch his chin, stare off into space trying to remember things, and so on.

But whenever he moved, he drew attention to himself.  Whenever he looked up, it seemed for an instant that he was looking at me in order to ask a question.  Whenever he moved his hand, it seemed for an instant he was trying to call me over to ask a question.  All of his movements had some kind of natural attention-grabbing quality.  I am not sure why this is.  It is true that his movements and gestures tend to be a bit larger and faster than most people's, but that cannot be the full explanation.

The only word that can describe this is 'charisma'.  Through some combination of innate talent and training, the ability to draw attention to himself is something that is always a part of him.  It is just there, defying explanation.  Almost every successful actor and performer has this mysterious skill, but you don't notice how strange and unusual is is it until you see them doing something normal in a crowd full of normal people.

*I am incredibly bad at determining how 'attractive' a person of either gender is.  I can't see any difference between Tom Cruise and Peter Lorre.

1 comment:

Lou said...

Tom Cruise as opposed to Peter Lorre? Wow. I guess the fact that anyone under 50 who would even know who Peter Lorre is (or was), is pretty impressive. Then again, w/o surgery and some age, perhaps Cruise could be a Lorre. Dad