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.'



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.


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