In this Masterclass lecture, we have a “heart to heart” discussion about what it means to bring our heart to our work. Despite what many may think, the actor’s work is not just about going up on stage or screen to resight lines that a writer has written. There is no art in that. There is only the skill of memorization. We, of course, have the foundational tools that we will always use to bring us intimately into the world of the text. But after that necessary work is accomplished, the actor is called to live his, her or their most private essence in a very public way as it pertains to the given circumstances at hand. You see, the text is this incredible skeleton just waiting to breathe. And the actor is that brave soul that comes along to breathe the life into that skeleton. And that asks of the actor to share a piece of his, her or their heart, mind, body and spirit with the world of the text. And by the nature of what we do and the circumstances we are asked to reveal, we are inevitably going to be confronted with specific aspects of who we are that we may have closed off for one reason or another to those specific or similar circumstances. It is no secret that all those blocks and obstacles that we may experience in our everyday life are in some way somehow going to show up on our work. Why? Because we are asked to LIVE in our work. And the only way we can live in our work is by using our own instrument married with the accumulation of our own life experiences, observation, research and of course the power of imagination. You are the instrument to that life. You and your heart are the battery to that life. And in order to really do that kind of profound work, one has to go through some kind of emotional warfare at times to thoroughly endow the journey that a writer has written to give any given character the respect and life that that character is due. In other words, there needs to be some kind of internal exploration to gain some kind of visceral understanding and personal connection to what you are being asked to live and reveal so the truth can be brought to life in the work. And sometimes this requires facing our own personal obstacles. And sometimes this requires us having to face our own pain. And sometimes this requires healing. And sometimes this means having to safely work on unresolved parts of yourself and your heart outside of the work. The more you work on these unresolved parts of yourself in a safe and appropriateenvironment the more it allows you to experience your true wholeness so you then can bring more to your work. Now please do not get me wrong and let me be VERY clear! I do not think acting or acting class should EVER be used as or in place of therapy (even though I am sure in some ways it may very well be therapeutic for some). But I do think our work asks of us to constantly be working on who we are. I do think our work asks us to look at and heal our wounds. I do think our work asks us to have a courageous awareness of what has been shut down or what has been shut off. I do think our work asks of us what can be used and what most definitely should not be used in our work so we can make informed choices that allow us to safely and sanely bring potent life to our work. It is up to the actor to have that awareness of what he, she or they need to do to safely work on his, her or their own instrument (Self). And this will obviously be a life long job as life will always be hitting us with curveballs that need to be healed. The more you do that Self-work, the more you will be able to bring to your work. But nonetheless, it needsto be done. You have to always be working on yourself and taking care of yourself. At the end of the day, our instrument is that beautifully complex life force that is going to mobilize a character that only exists on the written page. And the actor is that creative warrior that volunteers to do just that!
I hope you enjoy this lecture!
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