Acting Workout 2: How Do I Act??? What is Acting???

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It’s nights like this I question why I am doing this. And why I am not doing this. In some ways, performing and creating are what keeps me alive. Every time something bad happening to me or I have to overcome a challenge I think to myself, it’s okay because this is great songwriting material, or this will give me more to draw on as an actor. Sometimes though, the process of channeling those things is very difficult.

 

Tonight I was playing a character who had just experienced a breakup and was crying. At first I got really caught up on the crying and just wanting to make myself cry. Then I let that go and worked more on trying to achieve my objective in the scene. I was trying to bring my own life experiences in to channel the required emotions within myself but I couldn’t connect the two. It wasn’t like I didn’t have ample things to draw on, or that I didn’t understand what the character was going through.. but I could not bring those emotions into my body within the scene. I felt like I needed to sit there for hours preparing myself to have the intensity and emotions required. I tried getting ready on the train before coming to class but when I got in the room I was overcome with the desire to be social and talk with the class as we waited to get started. I also noticed that as the scene was going I would yawn every time I felt like some emotion was going to come through me. It was like my body was working against me…

 

I remember when I was a kid I was THE BEST at crying on cue. I could cry anytime. I used to play the game “graveyard” at daycare, where someone walks around tries to make everyone laugh… and I would always end the game weeping. I was a fairly lonely kid and didn’t really fit in with most groups (or at least this is how I remember it) so I would draw on that, but mainly I would remember scenes from movies that made me sad. I used to think of this scene from the Grinch where he looks really lonely and everyone is mean to him and I would cry every time….

 

 

I even considered calling my boyfriend and asking him to pretend to break up with me, or having a friend yell at me… Or finding a friend and asking the specifically to be really mean to me when I ask.. or getting into an argument with a stranger. How do I

I feel like I should invent my own method that works for me, but then people have been acting for centuries – why do I not just follow their training? All of the Grotowski and body training from my classes at SFU finally started to make sense… being aware of my body and how I am being… accessing my emotions… the effects that posture and position have on my emotional life… I finally started to get it… but when I think of the possibility of doing that for a year and a half I dread the idea. I don’t think I could handle being in this hard, tired, yawning place for that long. Where is the play? The make-believe?

I know that acting is an important part of my life but I am not sure how I want it to fit into my career and world.

Movie Theatre’s and Charlie St. Cloud

Yesterday was such an odd day for me. I had so many places I could have gone and people I could have been with but my body needed to rest and so I listened. I stayed home and did “nothing” (which for me equates to playing guitar, dancing, blogging, catching up on e-mail and blogs, handstands, and napping). The feeling reminded me of some archived i am being posts, sometimes saying “yes” to yourself is saying “no” to other people. I am so grateful I could reclaim that day to rest and recharge my batteries. Late at night my Mom invited me out to the movies. My plan was to watch one in the backyard but I ended up going out with her instead. We went to see Charlie St. Cloud, the new Zac Efron flick. As of late, every time I go to the movies I experience the same discomfort. The minute you walk into the theatre it is so loud. There are so many colours and screens and so much advertising everywhere. It is so much to process. It makes me appreciate reading books. All of this consumer culture in one place, it’s a bit frightening to be honest. No wonder i’m becoming a hermit, you can’t take me out to eat or to see a movie… what is a young person to do with me?

Once the movie stated though it was able to take me out of that for a while. The movie was good, it definitely drew me in and I was surprised a number of times along the way. I did think that Zac Efron (although sexy) looked too old to be a high school senior at the beginning. Also I found the pacing at the end a little funny, it felt like it should have either ended sooner or continued on. The movie asks us the question, will you move on to the future or stay in the past?

I think I’m going forward, for once, which is likely a very good thing : )

Also afterwards my Mom was like, “His eyes! You could drown in his eyes!” (of Zac Efron) which I found really funny : D

7 Notes About Life

Not too long ago I discovered Amy Krouse Rosenthal and wrote about her inspirational projects. She did a really nice TEDx Talk…

7 Notes About Life

Her first point was titled “Always Trust Magic”. She talked about the way things come together serendipitously in life. As a self identified “film kid” I tend to imagine certain things in my life as scenes in movies, or compare my life to that of a character in a film. For the past several months i’ve felt as if my life has been part of a Guy Ritchie movie (If you haven’t seen RocknRolla or Snatch you are missing out). Ironic twists and unexpected events that all relate to each other… I couldn’t even begin to give an example of this because it would be very complicated to explain but it all comes down to living in a VERY small world. This comparison isn’t necessarily negative (Guy Ritchie movies are hilarious) but perhaps I could be making a different comparison…

Specifically, the old John Cusac movie “Serendipity”… it’s a major chick flick but also one of my favorite films. Maybe instead of viewing my life as a great work of irony I should be looking at it as serendipity. I’m realizing how lucky I am. I am grateful for the way things come together. I’m going to start looking at the irony as magic and perhaps a series of fortunate accidents. We’ll see how this goes : )