'Becoming, not pretending'
This quote sums up my own approach to acting, was true for me as an actor, and informs the way I teach.
There are very few fundamental rules with acting - the first is you can't 'be' another person, real or imagined. It is a practical impossibility! You're not hiding behind someone else either. Neither are you pretending. If this is the case, you are simply layering pretence on top of pretence, which is as exhausting as it sounds. The situation you are playing is already imaginary, therefore what you do needs to be truthful.
The actor and teacher Sanford Meisner said "acting is behaving truthfully in imaginary circumstances".
All we have is our own experience, our imagination and our interpretation of events. This we must bring to bear on the circumstances of the play and the words on the page, which are not 'real'. However, they have 'scenic truth' or 'theatre truth' - they feel real to us. They could be true.
This makes life much easier and the work richer - we don't have to pretend, we don't have to try to be something we're not or force ourselves to feel an emotion we're not feeling. We can sustain a performance, not just for one or two nights but for the whole run of a play, and we can actually be in the moment, listen honestly and be genuinely affected by our scene partner.
If you are interested in working with me, please get in touch. Individual and group tuition is currently online.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.