Training the Actor

The training of the actor deals primarily with helping him or her to experience, to live and to think on the stage or in front of the camera. This is achieved through the training of will, intelligence (thought), emotion, imagination and the stirring of the unconscious.

To achieve this, the actor must be able to relax and to concentrate. Many problems in acting disappear when the actor learns to relax, and many difficulties are overcome when the actor learns to concentrate. These are the elements basic to all acting in any period and in any kind of play or film.  The ability to experience is a necessary foundation for the actor to find the most expressive form for that experience.

Creating Reality

  • I believe an actor must train and practice for a Lifetime.
  • It never ends, it just becomes deeper.
  • Eventually the actor becomes so conditioned that he can experience any emotion.
  • Rehearsing the sensory steps, a good actor can even eventually have unconscious sensations functioning and unconscious emotions functioning, so what is needed for the role becomes second nature.
  • The actor has learned to stimulate and control his physical, mental, sensory and emotional behavior.
  • This all comes from his own reality.

The Work

Acting is being truthful under imaginary circumstances. Your Truth … You use your own life to create the life of the character you are portraying. In doing “The Work” you will use relaxation. This is a state in which the actor has rid himself of excess muscle tension as a prelude to full concentration. You will use sense memory as the ability to relive sensations and respond to imaginary objects. Sense memory is produced by recalling previously experienced objects, situations, or events. Substitution is used as a process in which the actor recalls from his own life an object or situation he knows personally for the actual or imaginary object or situation he or she is performing on stage or film. Personalization is used as a process in which an actor recalls some specific event or person in his or her own life to use in the role. Choices are used by the actor. They are Actions or Intentions selected by the actor to portray the character he or she is playing. The actor’s performance is determined by how he or she chooses actions. A good actor makes strong creative choices based on an understanding of the character’s feelings and circumstances. When doing. “The Work” …so many questions must be asked to fully prepare for the role you are trying to bring to life. The deeper you dig, the more will be revealed of the truth you are trying to find.

“The Work” is to prepare you to fly.
If you are flying already in the role you don’t need to do “The Work”. Sometimes it is already deep in your bones. Your instincts and imagination are very important to explore as an actor. Sometimes you just know but it never hurts to explore. Remember “The Work” is a tool for when you need it. It will get you out of trouble every time. The more prepared the actor is, the better the performance will be. You can never do too much homework on a part. You must continue to ask the “why” questions of your character. Just don’t do your homework on the stage or in front of the camera. That is why it is called “Armchair work”. You sit at home and ask all the questions and when you get on stage or in front of the camera the work is done. Now all you do is “Live Truthfully Under The Circumstances You Are  Given “.

“The Work” is about freeing the Instrument to play like a fine violin.
If you have the finest violin in the world and you never practice it when it’s played it will sound terrible. But on the other hand, if you have a broken-down old falling apart violin and you practice every day when you play it the sound will be magnificent.

Practice … practice …practice …
An actor must prepare for a performance. Just like an athlete, the actor must warm up. You are the only instrument you’ve got.  Make it the best it can be. Developing a technique that works for you is very important. Know what works for you personally and remember it can be a combination of several techniques. There is no one way to this art form. You are an Artist and will continue to grow if you stay open. Stimulate your own emotions and fly.