Embracing the negative is an interesting process, and Michelle’s blog post detailing it out in 3 stages was super helpful at describing the journey I was stumbling through. It’s true. Of all the steps, step 3, portraying the flaws, is the hardest.
I’ve been struggling with this, from the beginning. On a theoretical level, I understand what is negative in my character, but I’ve had so much trouble incorporating it into my work. It’s easy to see it in others, and even recognizing it in myself, but to truly own that on the stage, in front of the camera, or when I’m by myself… that is where I feel blocked. I sometimes feel myself running away, because I’m afraid that if I have that negative trait, that it completely shatters the image I hold of myself.
I believe a big part of it is getting over myself, and the image or identity I’ve spent what seems to be my entire life working on for the rest of world to see. If my worry is what I look like to others and what they’ll think of me, then naturally it becomes harder to present the negatives as my own – but I realize that defeats the purpose of what we’re working towards as actors. And not only as an actor but as a human being! How much of myself do I deny over a lifetime because I want to look and feel good? How much deeper would my relationships be if I could be more truthful and expressive with others?
Continuing to work with the negative has made character development so much more interesting, so much more creative and so much more enlivening. I look forward to seeing where it takes me for future roles I work with.
Picture of Bea as Jenny in “John” by Annie Baker, Role Immersion.