Acting coach Gary Taylor is at it again, kind of. He’s released his second book spouting more of his acting technique, entitled Acting is a Smell. It’s released on the heels of his first book, Flies in the Room which surprisingly was a best seller. We’d make a joke about a fly in his soup, but the books unintentionally provide all the humor we can handle.
According to press notes, the flies have essentially returned, but this time in the form of a smell. Maybe it’s best, though, if Taylor explains the book in his own words.
“Acting is a smell. It smells like soup,” states New Jersey native Taylor in his faux-British accent. “The audience comes to the theater hungry. It’s our job as actors to send them home filled up with Chicken Noodle, or Cream of Broccoli, or Split Pea. There are even times when one can combine soups. I recall a production of The Geisha Always Rings Twice where I combined Won Ton with Egg Drop and the result was exquisite. I, of course, was playing the Geisha.”
While acting and channeling various soups is fine, we wonder if the audience will feel “filled up” with what is essentially an appetizer. One of our staff theorized that Smell may be part of a larger book series by Taylor, outlining a seven-course meal of acting. That much of the Taylor technique would certainly leave audiences full – of what we’re not quite certain, but they’d definitely be full.
It’s important to note that not all unconventional acting techniques are this flawed. Nolan Grigsby’s Compass-ition was recently recognized by the Colorado Theater Guild. The bottom line for any actor using a technique is knowing what’s out there and using what works for you on a case-by-case basis. Whether that’s facing a direction, fighting flies, or layering with Lentil, the goal is to create real moments on stage that take the audience on a journey.