The Whipping Man
The first play I saw for our acting class was the Whipping Man at the Indiana Repertory Theatre. I’m not very familiar with the acting common in theatrical performances, so I may be judging it a bit harshly, but I felt that the acting was actually pretty underwhelming. I’ve become accustomed to more recent actors acting as naturally as they possibly can, so I felt a bit out of place watching these mediocre actors reciting their lines and occasionally raising their voice. It seemed forced and very unnatural. There was no point during the performance in which I forgot that I was watching a play; I was very much aware that I was watching a set of actors throw lines back and forth. One scene in particular felt pretty ridiculous. John was talking to Caleb and Simon about being sent to the whipping man, and said, “He whipped me, and he whipped me, and he whipped me.” Each time he said, “he whipped me,” he slammed his foot down and clapped his hands together. In what could have been a very dramatic and emotional scene, I ended up chuckling a bit at how ridiculous it looked. The rest of “John’s” acting was equally awkward and overly dramatic, but it did seem to blend in pretty well with the others. Beyond the acting, I really enjoyed it. The set was interesting, and I thought it was clever the way that they had the lighting set up with the candles and lanterns scattered about. The clanging of the plates were a bit distracting, and I do feel that being that far into the production schedule, they would have noticed that and remedied it. However thinking about how completely fascinated I was with the set only amplifies just how unaffected by the acting I was.
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