Monday, April 11, 2016

POV: On Acting - A Walk into Possibilities

Point of View: On Acting

A walk into Possibilities
By Jeff Salazar

As performers, we are called upon to tell a compelling story. We are asked to live truthfully to the given circumstances and to show a side of the human condition that is seamless and real.   

This is easier said than done.

So, how do we give in to the character’s circumstances and live in front of the camera as if these situations were real? Opening the possibility for real emotions and reactions is a crucial step in truly connecting to the character that is written on the page. 

This week, we focused on the movement of acting and giving in to the moment.  We have been exploring the Tadashi Suzuki approach to body movements and acting techniques.  Through these practices we have been able to advance our understanding of the given circumstance and succumb to the inner feelings and thoughts behind each character.   

Suzuki Walks  

There are eight key walking techniques behind this approach to body movement.  Each one provides a different view into the complexity of each trait/quality of a character you are trying to embody.  Here are the walks on which we focused:
  • Pigeon 
  • Bicycle 
  • Broom 
  • Tip-Toe 
  • Side-Step 
  • Cross-Side-Step 
  • Slide Step 
  • Kabuki Shuffle
You can view a pretty good representation of these walks in this video, Ten Ways of Walking.

The walks above look rigid and very restricting on movement, but ,once properly practiced you can find a soft peace that radiates through you during your performance.  The art of acting comes from creating a seamless performance, helping the audience to suspend their disbelief. These walks are intended to create a sense of balance within the actor, preparing you for anything that might come about.  Since our job during a performance is to reflect life in motion as if it was happening for the first time, these walks are excellent ways to practice.   

The Possibility 

Now for the hard part.  So often in performance, we find that the mind can focus inward.  One of our instructors, Michael Place, asked us to envision the “arrows of attention” (the fictional arrows that can point inward when feeling insecure) and try to point them away from ourselves.  This is something easier said than done, especially during a performance.   

It’s a help to focus completely on your scene partner. The person you are working with — whether you are performing or practicing — should be the only one who has your attention; not the audience, not the mirror in the back of the room, not even your girlfriend in the back row.  Since your performance encompasses the other person and their reaction to your words, it is good to keep them in your sights.  This will create a true performance of real reactions, instead of what is dictated on the page of your script.   

The possibility of emotion comes from enveloping the words and allowing them to affect you.  Think of what is being said, and how it will make the other feel.  The given circumstances of a situation can speak louder than the words, even if there is nothing being said.  A true performance comes from within when you are focusing outward and never the other way around. 

I know I have given you all a lot to think about.  Be sure to leave any questions or comments below and keep us posted on your progress.  Stay safe, live truthfully and I will see you on the other side! 

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