In this Masterclass interview, we discuss how very often our resistance to our own growth is one of the biggest things standing in the way of our own forward momentum. We discuss what our training as artists is all about. Very often we can easily get caught up in the idea of having to “perform“, having to “be perfect or right“, having to be “on“, or even having to prove “something” to our fellow ensemble members and/or the teacher. That is the exact opposite of what should be happening. The participation in any acting studio or ensemble should really focus on committed like-minded professionally-oriented actors coming together and wholeheartedly holding space to explore, discover, learn, grow, expand, share, support and cultivate the craft of acting. There should be the focus of committed like-minded professionally-oriented actors coming to work, to really do the work knowing each and everyone is there respectfully for the work. And more often than not, it is there where committed like-minded professionally-oriented actors come to find their tribe, their artistic home, their creative family, their ensemble. But that environment should not be used to contemplate our worth. We have to know we are worthy. That environment should not be used to ruminate about the respect we deserve. We have to know we are deserving of respect. That environment should not be used to ponder if we should be seen and heard. We have to know we have the right to be seen and heard.Part of being an artist in any learning environment is in the knowledge of what we are there to do and why. That does not mean we will not be challenged. Because we will. We will all the time. In fact, that is why we there. Challenges allow for growth as long as our resistance does not hold us back from our very own growth. But we cannot get that famously sought out “breakthrough” until there is an honest awareness and a profound understanding of what it is we are actually trying to overcome and learn. We have to be honest with ourselves and remain open to learning and growing. Otherwise, we just remain on a merry-go-round of unuseful resistance and continue to have an un-evolved cyclical stagnant experience. Not ideal for an artist. We have to dive deep within ourselves and the work to discover all the treasures. And sometimes the true learning may have to come from the unlearning of what was once learned. One of the biggest obstacles we may have to face as actors is developing a tough enough skin to remain open and available to the work as the work challenges us in a myriad of ways. Very often the work is going to hold a mirror up to us and sometimes it is not going to be pleasant to face things that are stifling us or holding us back. But as actors, we have to be willing to stand up and face the music. There is no room for escapism in our kind of work. As actors, as artists, we have to be OK with allowing our instrument to experience discomfort as we grow. We cannot resist or shy away from it for it is that very discomfort that is the exact ingredient to our growth and to fulfilling the most complex realities of the most complicated circumstances. Our discomfort is pregnant with the substance needed to be utilized in our work. We have to be courageous enough to actually step out of the “safety blanket” of the ego, and into the reality of all that delicious discomfort as the artistic warriors that we are. It is through our instrument that we become the vessel to living the most complex, complicated and even inexplicable essence of the human condition in a very public way. But that kind of necessary bravery has to be consistently and safely worked on without consciously trying to run away from it. We have to confront it in the moment and work through it in the moment. It does not just magically happen when we step onto the stage. Working through it, void of resistance is how real learning begins. We have to stay the course. We cannot let what we were not able to overcome or achieve yesterday hold us back from what we may be able to overcome and achieve today. The fact that we continue to stretch our limits and openly reveal ourselves is a true testament to our inner strength, creativity, and light as artists. Do not take for granted the fearlessness that this art-form demands. As I always say in all of my classes, it is not for the faint of heart. The artist’s way is to persevere.
I hope you enjoy this interview.
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