In this Masterclass lecture, we open up the class discussing a very big reality that all humans have to face. And that reality is the fact that all human beings are going to inevitably experience strife and struggle numerous times in life. I know…I know…great news, right?! But to negate this fact negates the common denominator that is present within every story that has ever been told…and will be told. It is all the suffering of the human condition, in its myriad and complex of forms, that gives birth to all drama and comedy alike. It is the reason why we tell stories! It makes our story, and all the stories that have ever been created, yearn to be told and witnessed! It brings us together because there is something innate within all of us about all of our suffering, all of our drama, all of our complicated-ness, that hungers for communion. It makes us not feel alone on this great big winding rollercoaster called “Life“. And the beauty of our work, whether it be through film, stage or tv, is that in some incredible way, it becomes this glorious medicine for the masses to know they are not alone in their suffering. Yes, it is through our suffering, all the pain and confusion, that brings us all together. Imagine that! It is actually quite beautiful when you really think about it. Especially nowadays in a very “me me me” world. I mean, look at any tragedy and see how amazing it is that through those horrible circumstances, hearts begin to open in a much deeper and giving way. There is something about pain, suffering, tragedy and those like-circumstances that wake us up from our own personal slumber and instinctually call on our heart strings to show up for each other. But here is the kicker! As actors, as artists, we have to be OK with allowing our instrument to experience discomfort. We cannot shy away from it for it is that very discomfort that is the exact ingredient to fulfilling the most complex realities of the most complicated circumstances. Our discomfort is pregnant with the substance needed to be utilized in our work. It is part of the answer. It is actually a huge part of the answer. We have to be courageous enough to actually step into all that discomfort as if we are artistic warriors! It is through our instrument that we become the vessel to living the most complex, complicated and even inexplicable essence of the human condition in a very public way. And in order to do that and bring the audience on that journey, we have to strive to execute the most profound truth in our work. We owe that to the audience because they are giving us the most precious thing they have. No, not their coin, but their time here on Earth. Now, in order to do that kind of work and be the kind of actor where the work does not show the “acting“, we have to accept that nine-tenths of the experiences we are being called to live in the work, we may not have even tasted in our everyday life. So we need to utilize tools that allow our inner world to fill and experience those circumstances so we can live those circumstances in a truthful way for the story and all those witnessing the story. It is through specific tools, using our own personal experiential vocabulary and our imagination and the marriage of the two, that we can stimulate our inner world to actually experience and believe the most complex circumstances so we can then live those circumstances in service for our work. We are living in a day and age where we are being called to exercise our imagination less and less. And that is NOT ideal for the actor. Just like going to the gym, the actor must continue to exercise the imagination muscle and continue to build that inner library. And though the circumstances may be uncomfortable, we also have to remember to have fun within all that discomfort and all those high stakes because we can never forget that we are safe to explore and play in the structure of the givens.
I hope you enjoy this lecture!
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