Harriet Harris Shares the Secret of Great Comic Acting

Harriet Harris in Broadway.com:

ScreenHunter_01 Feb. 03 14.58 The good people at Broadway.com have invited me to get up on my high horse and talk about “acting in Noel Coward.” This is a topic about which I know precious little—and, as I have an aversion to horses of any height, I am left to ponder why I said “yes” when my character, Monica Reed, would have dictated a “polite refusal.”

My ignorance is both deep and wide. My preferences, however, are shallow and narrow as a gerbil’s grave. I don’t absolutely know how to act Noel Coward. But I like to think he has left us clues on every page.

I like to see a page full of punctuation—it makes me as happy as fresh snow on Christmas or fireworks on the Fourth of July. Out of laziness and an inability to accessorize, I skipped a lot of school as a child and can’t punctuate my way out of a paper bag, but I am full of admiration for those who can. Coward was an actor, author, director, painter and a musician (ay-yi-yi, I feel so small), so certainly he meant us to observe the melody and rhythm of his lines. Sometimes they leap and gallop, sometimes they canter or trot. Yes, the rhythm lies is in the words. But it lives in the punctuation.

More here.