A few weeks ago, I experienced my first ever live Commedia Del'Arte performance. The troupe, Teatro Dell Maschere has posted their performance on youtube, for your viewing pleasure! I LOVED this performance, and I encourage you all to check these guys out in the future.
If you don't know about this theatrical art form, read up on the wikipedia article. Every actor should at least know about this stuff.
The things I notice in this video: The freedom and sense of ease. The characters are over the top, and flamboyant. But they don't seem strained. The performances are at ease, but not lazy. there is a balance between strength/energy and grace/lightness. Each character is specific, and no one seems like they're "Trying too hard." This is what I'm talking about when I describe the difference between Naturalism and Realism. This is far more natural than half of the realistic performances I see. Good acting isn't about being "Realistic". It's about being "Real". As an acting teacher once said to me:
"I'm not asking you to act falsely. I'm asking you to act truthfully, but stretch the definition of what truth can mean."