Let's Stop Waiting!

We can all get caught up in the waiting game from time to time.  It happens at various points in our lives, careers and it can manifest itself in our work.

It is a place that can cause stagnation, frustration and impede growth.

Personally, I think it becomes a habit.

As actors we wait on so many things.  We wait for the phone to ring, the cue to come, the word action to be called.  How might it serve the work if we stopped waiting to bring all that we have to offer and started to give of ourselves, express our voice, offer up our talents and get moving!

An easy antidote is to be mindful of the definition of "to act".  As a verb it means to take action or to do something.  As a noun it means a thing done; a deed.

I have been meditating on this since Monday Evenings Instinct Class at Krater Studios.  We observed how a scene can sit there...feeling like it is an unmoving entity or it can pop and sizzle.  Usually the difference has to do with where the actors are coming from, what they are listening to and/or what they are bringing to the picture.

Once in awhile, I see actors get up without much going on either energetically, emotionally or psychically.  The go to the page or the line, point out the most obvious clues from the script to support uninspired choices and they read dialogue.

Rather than waiting for someone to point out where the opportunities may be, an actor wants to be in tune with his or her process, opinions, life experience and inner aliveness.  We don't need to be told how to respond to a novel we may be reading in the privacy of our home and it should be no different when we are working.  Lifting that experience up off the page and being willing to play with the other actor takes a certain amount of risk, but it must be done.

I see actors wait for the lines to tell them how to feel.  It is common place to have someone sit right in front of your nose and miss what is going on with them.  We don't connect as a society and so from time to time we ignore that obligation when we get up to work.  Ask yourselves if you really give a damn about the person in front of you.  If you aren't sure or the answer is no, turn that around because nine times out of ten your performance is in your partner.  The character you are inhabiting surely cares about the journey he or she is on or there wouldn't be a story to tell.

Listening is such a crucial part of an actors process.  Sometimes it seems as if actors believe this is about listening to the line better.  Although that may be true, there are so many other amazing things to connect with when we act.  From time to time we are limiting ourselves to just one or two, but as an actor you want to reach out and listen to the lines, the temperament of your partner, the tone of the environment being established, the moment, your intuition, a deeper level of understanding, your point of view, the obvious....need I go on?  Actors forever will be discovering how to listen better.

Lastly, I think it is important to recognize that you have something valuable to offer the production, your community or the world.  An actor must recognize and develop his or her voice.  If we want to be more than a bit player from time to time...it must be done.  It is perfectly okay not to know what that may be, but then we must go about the discovery.

In being called to act, suddenly there are so many things to realize, discover and express.  Keeping all of this in mind will prevent you from sitting back when you need to take a stand, keeping quiet when you should speak up and pretending you are just another actor when indeed you are a force to be reckoned with.

Think how it feels to be on your heels when you work.  Why search outwardly for someone to offer you the platform or permission to do what you do best.

So much of this career becomes about taking care of yourself.  Please make sure that you do.

Now, go Act!
Jen Krater