Acting coach Howard Fine has said the following:
“Actors wear costumes, people wear clothes.”
Here are a few things I think it means:
1. If you are wearing a costume, you are a bad actor. (unless you’ve been cast in the role of “Tree” during the George Washington Cherry Tree play.)
2. Acting is about being real. Committing yourself to a role by personalizing it, understanding what part of you is already in this character.
3. Acting is about being a person – a real person – 100% of the time. A mother in the kitchen cooking breakfast for her family doesn’t wear a costume. She wears an apron. A mechanic working under the hood of sports car doesn’t wear a costume; he wears overalls or a uniform. The point is, every (human) character is a real person and needs to be treated as one.
4. Good acting transcends acting. Good acting is, in fact, not acting at all. It expresses human experience in authentic ways. It makes no difference if an audience is watching a performance or not. The actor represents a real human being in a real life situation. It is no place for costume jewelry.
Is it any wonder why acting is so difficult?