So what is this technique? It starts with a premise and the premise is the following: the goal is to be authentic. If the goal is to be authentic, the only way to be authentic is to be authentic. Therefore, any acting technique that creates even a line, (however small) between you and the character is going to be seen as “acting” and therefore, (in the 21st century), good acting, but not real. We have a conundrum. If we have to have an acting technique to do this, it cannot be seen.
So, then how can this be done? Now, back in the days of theatre, when you could rehearse plays for three, four or five weeks, or you had a week to prepare for your audition, something could become so automatic, that it might resolve our conundrum if not for the fact that in the theatre, our techniques didn't have to withstand a tight closeup. Acting today must be chemical. So my attempt at a solution is the following.
If I had to distill down the core philosophy of our studio it would be:
Learning how to do consciously what we are doing unconsciously anyway.
The brain is a magnificent tool. It knows things that no acting coach or teacher will ever know. It can share, teach, and guide you in ways that no acting coach will ever be able to. This is the heart and the soul of the work that we do at our studio. Most of our work and study is on the brain and how it works/functions: how thoughts trigger feelings, the nature of dreams, and the associative nature of our memories. I believe that acting at the highest level is dreaming while awake.
In this series of blogs I will enumerate the key tools our brains provide us with. Primarily, but not exclusively 1) Thought 2) Action 3) Nature and Behaviour 4) Rhythm and the greatest gift of all 5) The Power of Empathy.
Let's start with the power of thought. Thoughts trigger feeling, not the other way around. Emotion is the result of thought. A thought is a neurological electric charge in the brain that flies between the synapses causing a chemical cascade we call emotion. Nothing is faster than the speed of light and thus nothing is faster than the speed of thought. Everything is true for as long as you think it, and then it isn't. For example let's look at the trifecta of losing things: wallet, keys, phone. You think they're gone. You panic! You hate the person who stole it, you cry because you can't afford a new one etc. and then somebody says "excuse me you left “this” in the bathroom." The facts are it was always on the counter in the bathroom. The truth was that son of a gun stole it. Everything is true for as long as you think it, and then it isn’t. If you can master this, standing or sitting on that mark is going to get much, much easier. It will inspire more confidence and give you more control and the ability to take a note and shift your paradigm on a dime. Like most if not all neuroscientists we believe in the power of thought.