People can be taken away by the experience of acting, truly uplifted. That experience happens when you’ve become completely absorbed in something outside of yourself, so much so that you lose yourself.
The beginning of our training and really the base of all of our training is about learning how to take your attention off of yourself. Once an actor learns to place their attention on something outside of themselves, whether that be simply looking at another person, drinking a glass a water, or relating to a situation within a given set of circumstances then they will experience the magical freedom of acting.
Why does it feel so free? Because the walls we’ve built up between ourselves and the world-out-there are broken down. The walls that were built by our focus on self-improvement, self-loathing, self-denial, self-judgement, self-hatred. Once we train to take our attention completely off of ourselves, it’s like having been in a jail cell for a long time and finding an open door and walking out into the world. And, when an actor immerses themselves in the scene with no self-consciousness, and fully interacts with the world around them, the audience is enthralled. It’s a wonderful feeling to be moving about freely without the burden of ourselves to lug around!
But, there is something to watch out for: compliments. Compliments, or any form of success, can take that freedom away. If you don’t catch yourself before falling into the trap of compliments, you might find that you are totally absorbed in yourself again. Instead of the “Joy of wide-open-to- the-world relationship” the actor experiences the Joy of SELF. And maybe this time around, instead of living the experience of the SELF HELL, they are experiencing SELF HEAVEN. SELF Heaven feels great! A great big audience clapping. ME! ME! ME! I truly am great! Who knew??!!!
But what the audience enjoyed was your acting free of your self. It wasn’t YOU they were clapping for.
Eventually the SELF Heaven turns back into the SELF Hell. It just always goes that way. A return to the good old days of self loathing. And in that hell, you’ll remember that time of living in SELF Heaven and wish you could get back there again. Maybe it will happen. Maybe it won’t. Either way, they’re actually the same thing. You are living in a jail cell. You, the bars, and the world outside.
Audiences won’t free you. Relationship will.