If declaring an objective is the foundational element in scene work, then the tactics created to achieve that objective are the building blocks. It’s imperative that those tactics are solid, and their strength will be determined by specificity. Therefore, specificity (my absolute favorite word) is the key ingredient to creating a successful scene. Make specific choices, keeping those tactics simple and concise. Play the action and avoid creating any superfluous information that may cloud a performance.
Remember, the actor’s goal is to remain a humble vehicle for the play by simply forwarding the plot and playing their objective.
Practice humility, be specific, and achieve your objective. It’s that easy.
The rehearsal space is a sanctuary. In it, artists are free to share and explore without judgement. With that reverence in mind, it is imperative to remain cool and collected during the rehearsal process. Although frustration may emerge, maintain an easy demeanor. Any signs of opposition will hinder the process and create a barrier between the artists. Remember that art is collaboration, so welcome any idea with an open mind, freely exploring each beat. Through exploration and exercise, choices will be made and decisions finalized. Characters will develop and scenes contextualized. Remain free and relaxed, knowing that each decision made is a collaborative effort with an ensemble concept. Keep cool. It’s a fun process; enjoy the ride.
In an incessantly sarcastic, pseudo-modern society where irony runs rampant, many artists have surrendered to the same cynicism and self-deprecation by which they are subjected. Irony-laced quips muddle sincere truths; pessimism has become tragically hip. This unabashed reliance on sarcasm has shamelessly replaced genuine sentiment, and the effects are staggering. Daily conversation is drenched with deceit, art is content with contempt, and entertainment is rife with rancor.
Paralyzed by such a dismal state of creative existence, it is imperative for the artist to awaken to a more genuine movement: practicing sincerity. In truth, the artist should strive to abandon all forms irony and uphold a sincere sense of self.
This certainly isn’t a newly minted concept. The New Sincerity movement was paved in the late ‘80’s, implored by David Foster Wallace in the ‘90’s, and revitalized by Jesse Thorn several years later. However, it is a rarely visited ideology, one that is truly vital in such cynical times. It is, quite simply, the right way to live. By practicing sincerity in their craft, artists create approachable aesthetics, encouraging growth and spontaneity. A culture is formed, art is produced, society thrives.
Many artists are already practicing sincerity: filmmakers such as Wes Anderson, Miranda July, and Michel Gondry; playwrights like Annie Baker, Philip Dawkins, and Samuel D. Hunter; and a new wave of emo bands epitomizes the movement, with Annabel, Foxing, and Into It. Over It. at the forefront.
It’s a beautiful way to live, love, and create. So scrap the sardonic state of existence and sincerity will shine. Uphold it, speak it, and breathe it. Let’s make a change.
Character work is an exciting endeavor for any actor. One of the greatest joys during a rehearsal process is experiencing your character taking shape and coming to life.
The key to creating a truthful character is allowing that individual to grow from within. Working from the core, wear your character as a thin veil.
Think of an always-changing chameleon, they never mutate their body; instead, they work carefully to manipulate it using the subtlety of their surroundings. In shaping your character, work from the core and allow the environment – your circumstances – to temper your character. Give your character the freedom to exist from within. Shroud the character over yourself as a veil. Don’t attempt to project anything loud or untruthful. Instead, allow yourself to shine through your character, playing them honestly and truthfully. Like a good chameleon, your character will evolve organically so that it reflects both yourself and your environment.
You are the vessel. Shine through the veil.
Some thoughts on art, life, and theatre. Stay positive.