When we begin training in acting, we begin working on “the actor’s instrument,” the actor’s instrument being yourself.

When we begin training in acting, we begin working on “the actor’s instrument,” the actor’s instrument being yourself. In our initial courses you are encouraged to deepen access to what I call primal authenticity, or your fundamental individuality. That training is extremely raw because it involves facing the uncomfortable feelings that limit self expression, and confronting whatever distances us from our immediate experience.

After completing a round in the Instrument series you move into your first Technique course.

This move into technique is a delicate step in the training process. No one wants to leave the vast and challenging study of authentic self expression, only to move into training that feels a little bit like learning how to paint-by-numbers. We naturally want to continue our fulfilling work of self discovery. But when, for example, Scene Objective is introduced, all the habits of learning something outside of ourselves can come back full force. This makes acting technique feel like an instruction manual, and turns acting itself into a simplistic imitation of life rather than a real experience of self discovery. If you go this route acting will eventually become dissatisfying.

We study acting concepts in technique classes. But the reality of these concepts must be discovered. To understand how to discover and play an objective takes all the time and effort that you put into opening up to yourself when you first entered acting class. The difference is that now you’re learning to move with that primal authenticity. You’re learning how to use it to enliven a story. So don’t switch to the acting instruction manual method. Don’t look at Scene Objective simply as an acting concept. Objectives are real and you have embodied them your whole life. Make sure you are not leaving the beauty and artistry of acting behind to focus on learning a concept that is devoid of self discovery. As soon as your acting loses that continuous, active realization in the moment, your acting is dead.

It takes time to understand something like objectives beyond the appearance of a simple concept. Take that time.

Michelle Meyrink