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PILLAR NUMBER FOUR: EMOTIONAL LIFE

The Fourth Pillar, Emotional Life, is the heart of the system. Like a heart, it is the most integral and elaborate of systems, requiring tremendous courage, stamina, and creativity from the actor. Emotional Life centers on training the imagination to open up the emotions by creating imaginary circumstances. The imaginative mind is a labyrinth, and it is certainly difficult to map a path to utilize it artistically. These steps, based in Meisner Technique, attempt to chart this

Pillar Number Three : Meaning

The magical thing about human nature is that the same event can happen to two people and it will be received and responded to differently. The event has a different meaning for the two individuals. For this reason, Meaning is the third Pillar. A Meaning is a character’s feeling, value, or perspective on a circumstance, character, or object in a play. If you are sitting in your home reading this, take a look around and notice the objects in your room. Consider what they mean t

PILLAR #2: CIRCUMSTANCE

BUILDING A STRUCTURE “If you build it, he will come.” ---Field of Dreams If Contact is the foundation, then Circumstances are the walls and contours of the house. And, they must feel as real and as solid as the walls of the house you live in in your own life. To the character, his circumstances are not imaginary, they are real, impending and meaningful; therefore, our standard is to create REAL circumstances that we can believe in and give over to imaginatively. In this Pilla

CONTACT: THE FIRST PILLAR

My students' constant requests to read more about The Seven Pillars of Acting Technique, is now answered! Over the next several weeks, I will be writing about each Pillar in the Seven Pillar system. These are longer than normal, so please take breaks, make some tea, and enjoy...Let's start from the very beginning... Contact is the first tenet of acting, as essential as breathing out and breathing in. Contact is the actor's relationship to his partner and to himself, as well a

I DON'T KNOW...

"The purpose of Art is to lay bare the questions that have been hidden by answers." ---James Baldwin “I don’t know,” can be a powerful statement to admit. It is the juncture at which you either delve deeper or back away slowly. Should you take the next step, you will initiate a change within yourself. Should the wall between the known and the unknown intimidate you, you will remain safe and untransformed. When you begin to reach beyond your general conception of the world is

HOW TO TALK TO A WALL

It's sad, but true that very often your working relationship with your scene partner is not productive, pleasant, creative, or enjoyable. They smell bad, they hit on you, they are constantly forgetting their lines and/or blocking, they seem to be looking through you, they bellow their lines to you, they play the moment EXACTLY the same no matter what you do to shake them out of it...Sound familiar? Or perhaps, they are your romantic lead and you just don't feel the chemistry.

WHERE IS THE LOVE?

My first acting coach, Jo Spiller, who began training me when I was sixteen, taught me many incredible lessons. I owe a large part of my acting, teaching, and life philosophies to her wise guidance. I would like to highlight one thing I learned from her…Where is the Love? Yes, it is a Gorillaz song from a couple years back and has largely disappeared from the general acting conversation for some time, but I just wanted to dust it off and re-present it as an absolutely awesome

IMAGINARY CIRCUMSTANCES

We are the music makers, And we are the dreamers of dreams, Wandering by lone sea-breakers, And sitting by desolate streams;— World-losers and world-forsakers, On whom the pale moon gleams: Yet we are the movers and shakers Of the world for ever, it seems. --- Arthur O'Shaughnessy It is a definite tenant of mine that actors must address the circumstances of their characters. Sanford Meisner famously said, “Acting is Living Truthfully Under Imaginary Circumstances,” which I’ve

MORE ON THE TRUTH...PUT A LID ON IT

We are not all that honest. Consider your life: How often are you fully candid about how you feel? Are you aware of how you edit your reactions? When and how do you sugar-coat, change the subject, circumambulate the topic, veil your feelings, grin and bare it, stifle an impulse, diminish a thought, throw one away, or lie point blank? Are you even fully cognizant of what you are presently experiencing? To what degree? It just doesn't happen that we reveal our entire inner life

THE TRUTH WILL COST YOU

“The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.” ---James A. Garfield Being truthful is an action. Truth demands unscrupulous authenticity, and unfortunately that can come at a steep price. When you tell the truth, something is lost. Consider the times you have had to tell the truth ... I’m sure it wasn’t fun. The truth is risky, it can hurt others, it can make you vulnerable, it throws relationships into tumult and turns facts on their heads. Without a do