Acting is an art of expression. And though we don’t train to focus on feeling (as feeling is a result and not an action) the truth is, the deeper a person can experience feeling, the better the acting.
But experiencing feeling is hard. When you feel, people can see more of you. They may see you and not like you. They may see you and realize that you’re flawed. They may see you and reject you.
And, feelings can be painful. They run deep. If we have the option to disconnect from them, why not do that when feelings are such hard work?
Many of us do. We replace the experience of feelings with a mask. It starts in our teens or early 20’s and by the time we hit 40 we have an intricately woven facade. We present this facade not only to others, but also to ourselves. Eventually we don’t know who we are at all. Who am I if not this facade?
This is a huge hurdle to overcome in acting.
However, those who are shy, generally haven’t cut off from feelings. A hardened facade hasn’t been developed. Shyness could be described as an action a person takes to continue to experience their feelings. The shyness is a wall that limits the depth of a person’s interactions with the world. It’s lonely but it’s safe. Like a turtle protected under its shell.
In Acting for the Supernaturally Shy we work with this delicate balance of coming out from under the shell and interacting with others – but with our feelings intact. The goal is to open up to these challenging feelings; to embrace them as we live. We work slowly, step by step, because we never want to move into acting with a facade.
How do we do this?
We work physically with the senses. We start with eyesight. Eyesight impacts us enormously. What happens when someone looks at you? Or in acting when you are in front of an audience? Or in front of a camera? When you are shy, a flood of feelings can run through your body. Even in the presence of one pair of eyes, a flood of feeling is experienced.
We practice with that experience. The experience of “audience.” Through various acting exercises, we learn to stay connected with feelings, and to be seen.
When that becomes more comfortable, we move to voice, to speaking and listening, to movement, to our body, and to self- expression. Each exercise clarifying how to open up to sensation without shutting out the outside world, or shutting off from the inner experience..
In the end a very strong person emerges; someone who is connected to their feelings and comfortable because they are no longer managing a facade or hiding behind a shell. This is not a confident person or a non-confident person. This is a genuine person. And an actor capable of a beautiful genuineness in their acting.