This Week’s Most Noteworthy Performances

March 29 – April 4
I Can’t Keep Away From You” | Nashville
Connie Britton & Charles Esten

This week, we’re going to do things a bit differently with performance reviews – as opposed to separate pieces for both an actor and actress, we’re going to combine it into one. Connie Britton and Charles Esten were astounding inNashville’s latest episode and since the two of them shared every scene together, it seems fitting that the reviews be combined.

I Can’t Keep Away FromYou” was undoubtedly a heavy episode for Deacon and Rayna and it required afull range of emotions from both Britton and Esten. If there’s one thing theseactors are exceptionally great at, it’s their ability to manifest every element of their characters’ emotions. And when a performance is that evocative, then the actors have succeeded. If I were to discuss the grace and beauty in each of their scenes, we’d be here all day – simply put, there aren’t enough words for the wonderful performances in this brilliant episode.

Connie Britton excellently conveyed complete misery, fear, anger, and adoration in the most raw form allowing us to really understand the depth of what Rayna’s feeling. As Rayna fought for Deacon, Britton showcased exquisite warmth and affection – even when she was angry, you could see it was due to the tremendous heartbreak she was enduring. Additionally, Charles Esten’s ability to manifest a whirlwind of emotions was spectacular. It allowed the audience to understand that Deacon wholeheartedly feels such torturous remorse over the past that the mere thought of continuing to hurt Rayna destroys him. It’s clear that he adores and wants her more than anything, but you could see the internal struggle within himself to remain indifferent because he’s got it set in his head that if she takes care of him, she’ll hurt more. Both actors did an incomparable of showcasing just how profound and unending the love between Deacon and Rayna is. And when they’d discuss the girls, often reaching juxtaposing solutions, Deacon and Rayna were at their most vulnerable – channeling yet another set of heartbreaking emotions. It’s evident that both characters are selflessly thinking of one another (and their families), but it is also that same love that forces them into a state of grief and confusion.

Britton and Esten are remarkable scene partners, and it’s why scenes with Rayna and Deacon tend to be the most riveting. For both actors, there was a fine line between their inner struggles and the emotions they laid bare, but the beauty in their performances comes from the fact that the chaotic arrangement of emotions allowed us to see just how realistic these characters truly are.

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