We Are All Actors
Yes, you read that right. Each and every one of us is an actor. The only real difference between professional actors and the rest of the world is that the pros are paid.
That’s it. Seriously.
If you doubt this, I would like to introduce you to my 3-year old. He has no formal training, he hasn’t studied Stanislavsky, and he doesn’t have an MFA in Acting. And as a former Casting Director, I can confirm his abilities as a first-rate actor. Many of his Oscar (or Tony) winning performances take place on a daily basis — usually when something has been broken in the house.
Acting, you see?
But his manipulative abilities (and make no mistake about it, actors are manipulators) are not due to exhaustive hours spent in rehearsal and pouring over texts. It all comes quite naturally. Spontaneously. And, that is how it should be.
The Play Principle
We are never taught the principals of “play.” I have never had to have the “this is how you pretend” conversation with my son. Nor have I had to sit down and explain to him the fundamentals of having fun. He just reacts truthfully to a momentary impulse. This and only this is acting.
”Acting is living truthfully under imaginary circumstances” — Sanford Meisner
You see, the problem with actors is that they act. The term *acting* has come to assume a performative quality that is somehow separate from the actor. That is, they pretend to be something they are not rather than truthfully responding to a situation in the moment.
I often use the terms acting and being interchangeably, but it is important to note that if we are engaged in “being,” acting will naturally occur. But if we engage in “acting,” being is impossible to achieve. When the actor focuses on being (i.e. responding truthfully, not thinking ahead or behind but living in the moment, etc….) he is choosing to engage that which is immediately in front of him/her from a personal perspective. As a result, acting, by its traditional definition, cannot take place as the goal is not to mimic, pretend or manipulate but only to respond through genuineness and sincerity.
Takeaway: For just a moment today, be five again.
Photo Credit: Margaret Weir