Botox is the Way
"People say I look so happy - and I say, 'That's the Botox.'"
~ Dolly Parton
This is not a blog post about Botox.
(Not that there's anything wrong with that.)
If you were hoping to read about Botox, or plastic surgery, or anything fountain-of-youth-esque, this will be a disappointment. No, this is not a post about Botox; it's a post about Botox forehead.
What's Botox forehead, you ask? It's a term I just made up. It's the opposite of Brett Kavanaugh's face during his confirmation hearing. It's what we often imagine a face does when we think about it being angry.
But more importantly, my thoughts about Botox forehead came from an audition coaching session I had with an actor recently. He was working on a monologue where the character berates a subordinate. And while the performance was perfectly good on its own, I decided to make a tweak to it to spice things up.
The dialogue in the scene is angry. The character is angry. The scene is an angry scene. So why, then, does the actor have to play angry?
You can be angry while smiling. You can be angry while laughing! And you can be angry without furrowing your brow. So I asked the actor to make a Botox forehead instead. That is to say, I directed him to smooth away the tension in his forehead (like, literally, he had to smooth the skin over his eyebrows with his hands.) And I made him do the entire monologue without scrunching up once. It's not an easy task, but he did it.
And it was kind of awesome.
As good actors, we don't play the emotion; we play the objective. And you don't have to play angry just because the lines are angry. In fact, the lines being angry gives you even more leeway to do what you want to do- the lines are taking care of the heavy lifting for you!
Look at Humphrey Bogart. His characters were mad plenty of times, and yet he maintained Botox forehead before Botox was even invented.