Learning to drop the plan and follow impulses is acquired learning. In the beginning, it feels like you’re throwing off a nice, warm blanket. You’ve worked through the scene, and you have it all planned out. You are lying all comfy in bed.
And then, the blanket comes off. You drop your plan. You are startled by the shocking coolness of the air.
Our bodies are so used to being wrapped up in a cocoon. We’ve practiced planning for years! When don’t we plan?? And we pride ourselves in following the plan exactly as we said we would. We’ve spent a lifetime of planning, considering, weighing the options, discussing the morality, the safety factors, the pros and cons, what you read about this and what he said about that. Everything is a factor.
But, the cocoon of planning becomes stiflingly hot. We find we are less and less able to move. We’re thinking about every move, and its effect. Will I be more comfortable on my left side? My right side is slightly more comfortable. I think. I could lay on my back. Will my neck hurt? I think I have two pillows instead of one. I should always just use one pillow.
Every action is wrapped in thought. And even though no action ever quite achieves the desired result, we feel the endless need to try and find the right one.
And then, in acting, we are told we must leave the cocoon. We have to feel the cool air. It might even be COLD. It might be biting cold. We may even get hypothermia. We just don’t know what is going to happen when we follow our impulses.
But, it’s time. We can pull that elbow out from under the cover. We can peer out from under that duvet. Maybe whip those covers off for 15 seconds or so. The magic only happens when the plan is dropped, and the impulses are allowed.
Video: Lesson Eight of Expression: Getting out of the Head
In this exercise, Monica is asked to perform a monologue with three different motivations – none of which make sense for the monologue itself. This exercise helps to free Monica from eventually playing out a planned performance, but even more importantly, she must throw herself into this exercise. In order to ‘get out of her head’ she must spin the monologue in multiple directions.
Great work Monica!