Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Pleasure Principle

I think that every worthwhile actor or acting coach I've ever known have each said one thing: audiences want to see actors love what they're doing, even when they're plumbing the darkest material (i.e., FEELING is fun--no matter what the feeling is--on stage.) Today, in my voice session, Theresa gave me the note once again to think of my head and neck--with all their resonating chambers--as 'receptive,' a chamber to fill with sound released from my diaphram and torso, below. She suggested I tune into the "pleasure" in feeling the sound--it's vibration--and let everything else be second. Taking the note--and knowing full well what she meant--I suddenly felt permission to 'not get it right,' for the moment, and simply enjoy, and as I did, my whole body moved naturally into alignment, my vocal channel opened up, and, boom, I had more clarity and power in my tone and production than ever before. There was so much power it scared me, since I'm more accustomed to feeling that I have to reach for it, when in this case, I felt the impulse to pull back.

Well now, ain't this applicable on stage? In rehearsal tomorrow night, I'm going to try tuning into the 'pleasure' of it--"it," being the sound vibration in my resonating chambers, but also... everything else--and try to say 'be damned' with doing it right, regardless of the snickering from the peanut gallery. David Loftus--our MacDuff--did this for himself the other night, letting himself release into the part. Doing so did not produce a finished performance, nor SHOULD it have. David gave himself permission to fail--or rather, not fail, but not aim for getting it right. He let himself go for discovery. Neal, in both his directing and coaching, has been stressing as much, of late, and I finally began to see what he meant on the set of MADE CROOKED, last weekend.

I am ever more amazed by--and respectful of--my body as an instrument, as specific in its particulars and in need of as much care as any other instrument, and requiring constant exercise: i.e., I gotta do my scales, every day, if possible. Learning to 'play' it is existential stuff for me--identity changing; life changing--especially if I use my increasing technical facility to support discovery instead of restricting myself to 'getting it right.'

5

3 comments:

David Loftus said...

Thanks for noticing, David, and taking my work in the spirit it was attempted. I expect to be overacting often, and for a good while, through the rehearsal process, in order to find the proper place to which I can ultimately rein it in. Overacting helps me feel the emotions and motivations most clearly so that I know where they are or could go when I pull back in performance. That's my theory, anyway.

Trevor said...

Sounds like a good theory David...have a good time in rehearsal and the work (and experience) will be so much better. I wish all directors encouraged this practice.

Niya Christine said...

those positive peptide trails in the body.
good job David. inspiring.

Niya

ps: Christyne's Riffs has changed to Niya's Place. Thanks.