The Actor as Athlete
All humans are creative, innately shy, and innately social, playful beings with the need to communicate for survival and ultimately, to thrive.
Actors often learn through metaphor. Think of yourself as a grand piano. Most of us play only one habitual octave on our instruments. Learn to play them all. Train classically and learn to improvise. Through the art, craft and magic of classic acting techniques, find out that there is no such thing as boredom.
All the work/play we do in class contributes to expanding yourself and therefore your instrument, which as an actor is Your Self. Every piece of work is both artistic and practical, just as is all training for dance, musical instruments or painting. So we aren’t going to a fire. There is no” end-goal” as there is [often unfortunately] in film or a play. We won’t skip over the “basics” which can never be repeated too often. Most athletes, singers and musicians work out with basics every day if they want to be in ready-working condition….mastering technique, analyzing the score/game plan, releasing tension, trusting the work and letting go.
An actor, Lee Strasberg said, is “the athlete of the heart.” Acting is PHYSICAL. This work goes deeply into muscle/cell memory but never invades or exposes the participant’s personal life. It is a safe, positive and professional environment in which to experience oneself fully as an artist.
Exercises and games are designed to access existing muscle/cell memory and add new memories. Once you Personalize or have a tantrum, it’s in your “biological computer” just like your so-called “real history.” So you don’t really have to work hard to call it up. What we are doing is making a place to practice that! Rubinstein said that he played the same piece over hundreds of times and never the same twice. You cannot repeat exercises too often whether it’s how to hit a ball like Tiger Woods or hit a note as a musician or as an actor.
Class a place to refine work and take risks. Actors have a mediocre experience when they just want to perform the words and rush, without a working craft, to do a whole scene, play or film. They become artists when they come to love the work-process, which is always in progress, Alive in the Now. One definition of acting talent is: the willing surrender to imaginary circumstances while remaining fully present. It is not planning feelings; it’s allowing them uncensored. Children do it every day. This is not a place for a one-night stand mentality, but for a long-term committed love affair of passion and daring in which you can thrive.
And always, it is “Deep Fun.”
To quote Johnny Depp, “The term ‘serious actor’ is an oxymoron.”