Resolve to Act without Acting
Last month I took a trip to Europe to work with a new student who’d never acted before, but is to be the main character in an American TV series about him. The series is in the style of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” or “Entourage”. Not “reality,” but based on real characters and real situations. I think I was there not only to get him ready, but also, though it was unstated, to see if he could actually do it. It was a crash course; we worked together for eight days straight for as long as it was fun each day and that was anywhere from two to four hours.
For me, there was a lot that’s interesting about this. One, I had to actually go through all the exercises with him (as it was often just the two of us working) and that gave me a fresh perspective on them. I actually experienced, again, what works so well for me and I experienced how powerful the exercises are in connecting me to my natural instincts, getting me out of my head, and giving me the freedom that allows for a performance that is quirky, interesting, and alive.
Second, I watched a fledgling actor begin to give professional performances over the period of eight days. When we started he was unconnected, perhaps talented (hard to say at that point) and seemed to be just reading. By the end of eight days, I could have cut the performances he gave after only about 15 or 20 minutes of prep (especially the outrageous comedy) into a movie or TV show and he would be lauded.
The technique and exercises work fast, but, of course that doesn’t mean he can go off and just do it all by himself now. Well, maybe he can, but it’s a long shot. To keep growing, he’ll have to keep working at it — and, as always with me, having fun. But I found out fast what everyone wanted to know, is he talented enough to carry a TV series? And the answer was, yes.
I had him prep a dramatic movie script using the technique and at the end of our time together, we watched a DVD of the real movie. A very talented actor played the part that I’d given my fledgling to work on, and it was fascinating to note that he held his own against the seasoned young actor who played the part in the movie – and in a couple of the scenes he went even deeper than this talented actor without “Acting”.
I think what happened is that he learned to act without ever trying too hard (which is the curse of all acting) so in “studying his craft” with me, he cut through many levels of being unsuccessful and went straight to a level of connecting, being real, being in the moment and being alive. It takes a commitment to keep this happening in one’s work, but it’s well worth it.
The results are beautiful.
…ARE YOUR CLIENTS IN CLASS?