My Journey Through Acting

My Journey Through Acting

How do you see yourself in your body?
I see myself as beautiful in my body. I have to be comfortable in my own skin before I can try to be in someone else’s. Last semester, I studied the Alexander Technique. And there were two things I got from it. First, Alexander definitely knew what he was talking about when it came to body movement. Second, I definitely learned what he was talking about when it came to body movement, especially after experience something so liberating. I remember one specific time in class I was using the Alexander Technique while performing a monologue. When I first performed this monologue I added a southern accent and a lot of style to my speech. I felt as if I presented the character rather than embodied her. Normally, I really feel my characters from the inside out but this time I felt as though I was portraying her from the outside. I did enjoy how I presented her but it was not correct in relation to the Alexander technique. When I did the monologue for the second time I really paced myself. I breathed into the words and released them. It felt more conversational and natural. As far as my physical body I tend to lend back instead of “floating”. I was more easeful and discover a habitual movement that strained my body. I began to notice I have the most tension in my back area. I knew I needed to break this bad habit because it only brought me pain. I thought to be light and balanced and since then my back has felt wider and less tense.

Another time in class we were told to pick a partner to free flow with. Free flowing was moving however my body wanted to move without moving toward bad habits. I moved where ever my body took me but at the same time my movements were affected by my partner. If my partner would focus on my arms I would use them more as well. I noticed when I would bring the focus to my legs my partner would in turn be influence and bring their movement there as well. We were in sync but were able to be individually different as well. I love the idea of working together but staying true to one’s self. This journey was so intriguing for the simple fact that I have a difficult time connecting with people in my own life that I have known for a long period of time. And here I am in this class with someone I really don't know connecting with them on a very deep levels. I know that 80% of all communication is non verbal; but that class proved to me that a lot can be said and felt without words. I also thought about the idea of being in sync with a partner in a play. It is very important to be in tune and aware of each other in order to bring the play to life. As actors we must listen and respond. Without these connections as actors we cannot play moment to moment and lose the authenticity of it all.

What limitation do you see in your work?
I feel like I am not letting myself give into my work, at times. I see glimpses of my talent. During auditions I do not inhabit my character. It is like I fall in and out of moments. I want to learn how to be mesmerizing on stage from beginning to end. It feels like I am almost there, but it isn't enough. I want to be there in the moment, in my audition, during my rehearsals, and always on stage. I know with my heart something is there. But it is like I am standing in front of a break wall and on the other side is my ability to become great. A big problem in my work, (as well as my everyday life) is my voice. I can connect my voice to the emotion I am conveying through the character. It is my articulation and diction that is getting in the way of my performance. My professor has told me that it is good that I have noticed this problem. But because I am SO conscious of it I, in turn, focus too hard on speaking that it doesn't come out right.

Playing roles that require heavy or sad emotion comes easier to me then play characters that are upbeat and/or funny. I feel more pressure when I have to make an audience laugh. It's weird because I would think it would be the other way around but it's not. I believe a great actor can play anything. It doesn't matter if the role calls for them to be funny, crazy, sad, loud, or miserable. As an actor I should be able to embody these different personalities. Part of the reason why playing funny characters is hard is because I don't think I am funny, at least, not when I am trying to be. So how do I get myself out of my head and naturally portray someone who is funny?

Have you sustained injuries that have affected you physically?
It was the day after my 5th grade graduation. I lived in South Trenton, NJ. I remember the day like it was yesterday. My grandparents wanted to take me to dinner but I wanted to stay home to play outside with my friends. So I stayed home and began to play tag with the kids in my neighborhood. A fight broke out in the middle of my street. I had no idea what was going on. There was so many people and so much commotion and chaos. I was standing on the side walk when out of nowhere a car drove up on the curb and ran my foot over. I fell to the ground in excruciating pain. The driver not knowing that he was running over me backed up and ran over me again. I screamed so loudly. When I made it to the hospital I keep yelling, “I promise I'll never play outside again”! I was traumatized. I couldn't walk for a while. I had to be hospitalized and go through a lot of therapy throughout my healing process. I had to learn how to walk with crutches, with a cane, and on my own again. Every summer my family goes down to Atlantic City and me and my sister have a ball at the amusement park on the Broadwalk. I was in a wheel chair the entire time. This was a major injury that affected be over six months. Even today I sometimes have pain in my foot from standing for too long or even walking long distances. I hardly ever run anymore. Something about running fast makes me nervous. I assume it has something to do with what I went through. But, I am not quite sure.

Evaluate you training.
I have noticed from training here I have grown as an actor. In high school I use to change the sound of my voice when acting and it always felt like it was not natural. I have learned to use my natural voice in performances to make them more realistic. Also, in high school when I would have to cry, I would get so into the monologue that my crying would become real and overwhelming. I have learned to add to my performances by having that same energy of emotion but not letting it overpower my words or distract me from what's going on around me.

I have learned to listen and response and to build a connection with my partner. I use to focus on my lines and how to say them so much that I would forget to actually listen to my scene partner and response from taking him or her in. I have learned to fully commit to my craft and fellow students. By committing I let myself go in order to let the natural flow of emotion and action to happen. This has made me a better actor because it allows me to better connected with the characters I'm portraying. In my Acting II class last year I played Mrs. Muller from Doubt. It was an amazing experience and different than other performances because I have learned different acting tools including the twelve guide post, the levels of energy, and etc. Learning these things and incorporating them adds depth to my character and overall performance. Of course, it would be impossible to be conscious of these things during the performance but once you rehearse and know where they would be most effective it will just come to you. That is the beauty of art, you never know exactly how it will be; you sort of discover it.

Have there been things to hinder your training?
The only thing that hinders my craft is me. I stand in my way. Early I stated that I feel as if a brick wall is standing in my way of becoming great. I am that brick wall. I let my mind and conscious hold me back sometimes. But, when I allow myself to let go a wonderful thing happens; I create art. I want to learn how to always have this ability to do my best. I plan on working hard to become better. I plan on working on my voice so that the audience can understand me at all times. I plan on working on acting, because how you practice is how you'll perform. I plan on further exploring my body and how I can use it to bring my character more to life. I plan on exploring, learning, and discovering what I can so that I can get a part in a production, in a Broadway play, and in a film. It will be hard work but I personally know that anything worth having is worth fighting for.

Where will I like to go physically in this class?
I am in for the journey this semester. There is still so much to learn when it comes to physicality and acting. I want to be pushed and expand my horizons as much as I can. It is important that I fully commit to this class. If I give myself to the craft I may be able to eliminate the limitations I see in my work. I can be more aware of my body as a whole. I can find fantastic ways to use my instrument on stage. Physical exercises will allow me to be more aware of my body as an acting tool. So to answer the question: Where will I like to go physically in this class; my response is, as far as you can take me.