Actors IMPACT on Us! By Linda Burden-Williams
‘An actor at their very core are story tellers. Art, acting and performance are an expression of life – our cultures, our worries, our love, our strengths, our weaknesses and our existential curiosity. It is political and spiritual in equal measure. It can stimulate debate, educate, dissect life or rise up against oppression. It is relevant because our culture and our art is our defining characteristic from the other animals we share the world with,’ explained Neil Rawlinson, the Creative Projects Manager of the Actors Centre.
Jonny Persey, the Director of the Met Film School shares a similar view regarding the importance of the arts to society.
‘We’re living in a time of big political and social change which bring a lot of uncertainty to our lives. This is the time when we need artists and storytellers who create works through which we can better connect to this new world, understand how we feel about it and decide what we are going to do. I believe that artists are the mirror of social change and societies therapists,’ he said.
Societies therapists is what I want to speak on. For an actor to become a character that could affect you in a deep way, they must know themselves to the depths of their soul. Most people come to acting class wanting to become someone else. I explain you can never really become someone else but let’s us talk about the tools that an actor uses to create a character that appears to become someone else.
For an Actor to create a character they have their instrument. What is their instrument? It is their voice, body, mind and emotions. If you think about it what else do you have to create your life or your business. What if you have blind spots or blocks that will stop you in your life and business. If an actor has blind spots and blocks they must find them, understand them and use them. In business or life, we don’t do that unless we are in therapy or counseling. Acting classes are a way to learn and understand who you are and how you work in the world.
Then that is the place where you pull out the tools you may need. We have our natural traits that we live in most of the time. But say the character needs to be a powerful lawyer that doesn’t allow anyone to get in their way. But being a powerhouse isn’t your strong suit. You do acting exercises to enhance those traits. You watch other powerhouses, you pretend and imagine that that is you. You write your back story of how you became so powerful. Maybe it was because your father left you at an early age and you became the one in charge of everything and had to make it happen. No one will get in your way. You work on your voice, speech patterns and eye contact. You work on your posture and how you hold yourself. You put the thoughts of a powerhouse into your mind and repeat them over and over. Even the clothes that you pick will give you that feel of the character. How you walk and enter a room. How you hold your head and the gestures that you make are all powerful.
Doesn’t that sound like fun. Actors portray the best in humans, and the worst in humans. The audience member gets the benefit of the actor’s craft. They are allowed into the story and have their own emotions, beliefs and thoughts on the subject that arise within themselves. It is very therapeutic for all.