I had a painful class this week. The assignment was for each actor to prepare a Personal Monologue.
At The Actors Workout Studio, that means a personal sharing of a private emotional event in one’s life that was life-changing. Their assignment was to bring in an emotional recall of something poignant that changed them forever. It was powerful. Each actor needed to dig deep into their experiences, and painful ones at that. The emotional lives and expressions of the actors were brilliant; tears, raw emotions and personal experiences on the table. Each one was unique, personal, and an expression of who they were. I was moved for days as the class was filled with deep, rich, raw, emotional life.
Sometimes it seems so glamorous and hip to be an actor. That’s what the media does with it, but many don’t know the details, specifics and deep emotional requirements that actors have to get in touch with.
Not only do they need to access them, but they need to do it on “action”, exactly when it’s needed. Therefore, they need to be emotionally free and available. When I experienced the depth of those feelings in class, my heart was touched and I once again got in touch with the respect I have for this work. Acting isn’t easy, it just looks easy. This inspired me to look up notes that I keep to remind myself and my actors of what we do. I’d like to share one. It is an email recently sent to a class. It is a reminder of the commitment and journey of the creative artist. This is from Tanya Smith, one of our teachers. Thank you Tanya.
Great class last week for those of you who attended. The risks you are taking are astounding. I know it isn’t easy but this career demands all of you. Every single fear has to be dealt with. Your insecurities have to be looked at . It doesn’t mean you won’t be insecure or afraid but it means you will stare it straight in the face and say ““Here I am… come get me!”
There is no such thing as being fearless. It’s about being terrified and doing it anyway .
This class is on fear. It can be an external or internal fear. This class is designed to be uncomfortable. It will be uncomfortable. We are going to push on your boundaries. For those of you with body image concerns we are going to hit it hard this week. If you have intimacy issues there is no easy way out . No agendas allowed. All truth. You must stay in Repetition. You know this work… don’t take the easy way out. There are so many shows right now that really push the envelope. You will be called in on these auditions. Let’s deal with it in class so you aren’t dealing with it on set.
-No shoving each other
-If clothing comes off your under garments stay on.
– no throwing things at each other, no throwing the furniture around. This is dangerous if it isn’t scripted.
– if something is uncomfortable with your partner you simply say stop. The other person will respect this.
– do not leave the stage. We will deal with all emotions together.
– what happens in class stays in class.
I can’t wait to see you.
I have such respect for actors who are working this hard on themselves. By doing so, they get to express deep sensitivity through the characters they play and thus connect with their audience to heal, change, educate, and entertain.