Wednesday, November 21, 2007

ON ACTING: Developing an Emotional Toolbox

All people have have deep emotions; but actors learn how to access and maintain these deep human emotions during performance. To do this, they often develop the an emotional 'toolbox', as it were.

One of the greatest tools to accessing one's personal emotional life is remembering one's own history of emotional responses--that is, getting into intimate contact with the personal images and remembered events that emotional engage us.

For example: when I personally want to sensitize my propensity for sadness, I think of what always makes me sad: I think of my mother's all its saddening details. When I want to become highly suscepible to happiness, I think of what makes me happy: I think on my daughter, when she was three years old, chasing leaves and squirrels through the Ocean Ave. park in Santa Monica, CA. And when I want to be highly charged with feelings of anger, I think of ______ (name left blank; he is still alive; I will not name names to protect the guilty!).

An actor's array of images and memories--his/her own remembered emotional past and present--is the actor's tool box. And like a plumber, or carpenter, doctor or dentist...or any other craftsperson who seeks to achieve success...each actor should begin creating and saving the tools (those images and events and people that work for him/her) that best 'solve' the emotional demands a character or a performances.

Absent a toolbox; it is often difficult to find-a-solution, sometimes impossibe to fix-a-problem.


Blogger PatL said...

Can you say more about WHEN you think of these things? Are you thinking of them prior to the scene, or during the scene? How do you use these memories in the process of acting?

11:22 PM  
Blogger PatL said...

I just realized that as I'm working through your posts on acting you may have already addressed this question. If so, I'll get to it because I'm reading all your "On Acting" posts (and thank you for labelling them such!)

11:24 PM  

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