Context and premise: we all can easily conceive that the craft of acting is a game rooted in make-believe. The practice of a game is not serious in essence but like any other game, it has specific rules. The paradox is that one plays a game “for real”, but the game is not real in essence. At the core, the desires to act and speak both belong to the context of game which is a form of communication which also establishes relatedness.
It is also a kind of celebration of the fun and joy of being alive. Acting is a game. It is rooted in make believe. The practice of a game is not serious but like any other game, it has rules. The paradox is that one plays a game “for real”, but the game isn’t real in essence. The desire to act belongs to the context of game which is a form of communication. It is also a kind of celebration of the fun and joy of being alive. Acting, viewed from this perspective, acts as a pretext to explore, learn, entertain and communicate. This understanding gives meaning to our practice and it elevates and illuminates the spirit.
The premise that acting is a game rooted in make believe allows us the freedom to explore its creative possibilities. The ability to make a fool of oneself becomes a valuable talent, ally and a source of creative freedom. Pride and self-importance dooms the creative activity and ruins the fun as well as the game. The instrument of the actor, the body, mind, imagination, and so on, need to be relaxed and free of tension and self-importance to function properly.
Tension and self-consciousness breeds attachments to positional points of view on life, people and especially oneself. A tense actor is self-conscious, righteous, worried, insecure, cerebral, uptight, often depressed or sad, unimaginative…to name only a few.
Relaxation or rather the need to work in a relaxed manner is the most important responsibility of the actor. Relaxation of the body, mind and emotions opens new dimensions and offers considerable creative advantages. Genuine creativity resides in higher planes of consciousness. Tension can be related to and thought of as a state of mind, a holding on to old patterns of thought and behavior and a clinging to certain painful emotions for lack of better understanding. Tension resides and expresses itself in the body on a physical plane. The actor is a physical organism first. It breathes, moves, sees, touches, smells,…etc. Tension paralyses spontaneous physical activity and robs energy. The aim of practice is to learn how to let go of the grip that the mind has on the body. We view relaxation as a gradual surrender to that higher plane of consciousness and creativity. The aim of training is also the giving up of self-importance for richer, freer and broader horizons.
Working in a relaxed way is eighty per cent of good acting because the direct impact of a relaxed instrument is a natural return to our ability to child-like make believe. Authenticity of emotion and reactions in a given or imaginary circumstance is rooted in relaxation. It is much harder to teach a tense actor to relax than it is to communicate to him or her the technical demands of a particular scene. Lesser skilled actors are easier to work with than skilled performers who carry a lot of tension and therefore a lot of self-importance and ego who are unwilling to let go and trust the director and the process.
Working in a relaxed way will give you a sense of ease and will help make your acting seamless, effortless and a delight to watch. We offer twenty+ different techniques for relaxation which represent a body of tools to be used daily. Some require little time and others are deeper and more time consuming. We are in the process of compiling a manual strictly focused on relaxation techniques.
If you need coaching or know someone who could benefit from honing these skills or you wish to comment, feel free to contact me directly at (310) 205-9219 or go to my contact page by clicking here!