The poet frees the words.
The painter frees the hand
The singer frees the voice.
The actor frees themselves.
Acting and the actor are one thing. They are not separate.
In acting you always train to free your limitations to authentic self expression.
If I automatically smile in conversation that immediately limits my authentic self expression. It is false. It is a mask and it limits my ability to respond freely and authentically.
In Foundations class if I am asked to drop the smile I will allow myself to actively feel all the uncomfortable feelings that have stopped me from truthfully being myself without the mask of a smile. Overtime the discomfort dissipates. I start to learn what it feels like to be me, the me that I’ve hidden behind a smile.
If I want to please or impress people this will limit me as an actor. I won’t be able to come up with all the ideas that a mind that is free from wanting to please others can access. My choices and my imagination is limited by objectifying my work and judging it from the point of view of others.
In Foundations as I work towards authenticity I naturally become more aware of this aspect of myself. As my ability to express myself truthfully becomes stronger, my need to please begins to diminish. I am no longer driven by that feeling. My scope and range as an actor widens as my imagination opens up and the choices I make become uniquely mine.
The work of Foundations is progressive. Over time I may face the despair that sits in the pit of my belly. I face it and own it. I am no longer bound by it. I am free.
I may keep my anger hidden and out of reach but eventually I open up that ball of feeling that I have pushed aside. I allow myself to face it and own it. I am no longer bound by it. I am free.
I face the feeling of shame that I carry with me. I face those deep feelings and learn to not fear them. When I no longer have fear of those feelings I am no longer bound by them. I am free.
We have only one stake in Foundations, the stake of truth. In Foundations we work through the discomfort that has stopped us from being truthful, from being authentic. In a safe environment we explore stepping out from behind the mask. We get stronger in our authenticity and over time a wider range of expression is available to us.
A highly skilled actor is an actor that has developed the ability and the intelligence to drop the mask that most people carry. Their maturity is that of someone who has directed their attention inwards and are therefore able to access a deeper level of truth. They have the freedom to access the meaning the playwright has written. They can express and share a character’s story because they are no longer entrapped and bound by their own mask.
That is the goal. The path is facing the discomfort as the mask falls away.
Picture of Actorium student in a Public Solitude exercise.