ON ACTING: The Pre-Existence of Emotions
He said nothing. I pressed the issue: “On the day that day you become a father, that event will not suddenly create father feelings in you; it will merely activate the father-feelings already potential within you; those feelings have been within you for a long time”. He stole a glance at two pretty girls sitting next to him. “Feelings, all feelings, even the potential feelings of fatherhood, lay dormant within us, waiting to be activated by a powerful reality…in this case: the tangible birth of a child.”
“Emotions preexist. They are like the instinct to speak, hard-wired into all human beings as universal potentialities at birth. Subsequent life experiences merely shape and pattern these hardwiring potentialities into unique patterns within us--called our evolving personalities--as our lives move on in time responding to the discernible and discrete events in a person’s life.
“Your job as an actor, therefore, in playing the role of a father, is: first, before performance, activate (in actor’s terms, ‘prepare’…and there are multiple techniques designed to do so) your inherent, preexistent universal feelings appropriate to the character (in this case, ‘father feelings’…which, if I can judge by your reaction are somewhat locked away), so that during performance, you will be able to allow those preconditioned feelings to be tangibly and specifically activated by the events of the scene."