ON ACTING: The Joy of Self-Discovery
The joy of acting a "new" character is the pleasure of new personal self-discovery: an actor says 'I would like to do that role because I rarely get live/enact that aspect of myself in my everyday life. In my careful everyday world I rarely get to feel/discover and reveal those aspects of my hate, or my lust, or my prejudices. But, in acting I am free to 'play' those aspects--or, for that matter, all others demanded by a particular work: to explore the uncharted regions of my own personality.
The audience conspires in that permission of freedom because they also need to explore through the actor explored aspects of themselves; and to achieve that, they grant me, the actor--as leader of the audience--the right to explore myself in a role free of any audience or personal self censorship/judgement."
Audience grant actors that freedom because it is what society grants (and expects) of all researchers: a gathering of the facts without pre-judgements or bias. They want/expect actors to suspend any pre-determinations of right or wrong, moral or immoral, ethical or unethical; to act without prior censorship. Conclusions of performance become, as conclusions in good science, left until later, when all the facts of free performance are gathered. Actors thereby become essentially researchers free to pursue experiential emotional facts in performance unencumbered by prior-determined right or wrong.
So, when granted that freedom, actors become joyously free to explore new rivers (of of themselves), not simply rivers (roles) they have charted and mapped before, over and over again.
And even when and if the role does demand (because the audience loves that repetitive aspect of an actor and the producer will pay high salaries for the actor to re-ride his personal river again), the challenge becomes for the actor to dive deeper in that familiar river, explore that aspect of the actor's human experience at new and uncharted depths...and thus discover their essential self at newer and deeper regions of truth.