Once a student has completed Foundations, the structure and the feel of the class changes going into Scene Elements I (Activity). The focus is no longer on your openness, your vulnerability, your truthfulness. Of course, we always work with that but the training changes.
In Activity, we focus on taking out the day dream element that can hound many actors. We go for full presence ‘in the room’. Whatever the scene is, whatever the lines are, whatever your character is, you are there, 100% present in the room.
The point is to fully live it out. That’s the fun of acting. That’s the excitement. For me, there is nothing more exciting than seeing someone work with full presence. Often, tears are considered the peak, a sign of of fully going there. But, to have someone there, centered and looking out at the world, fully from their point of view. That’s truly captivating.
Or, relating it to our daily life? What does it feel like sitting with someone who is distracted, caught up in their own thoughts. They look at you and listen to you, and say things but they are actually not there. How does that feel?
And the opposite of that? What does it feel like when someone has no curtains in front of them, no barriers. Full presence can be so direct it can be intimidating.
It’s no good if we are playing a role, even if it’s the Queen of England, and we are that person… fully… in our head. We have to be that person, right here, in the room. The Queen of England is in the room.
That’s what we work on in Scene Elements. Presence.