Tuesday 30 March 2010

Standing still is hard work

I am currently taking a Film Performance Intensive at the Actors Studio. It's great fun and presents some new challenges.

We get a new script every week. I have always been good at learning lines but am awful at taking time to sit down and actually do it. The first couple of weeks my line learning was less hit than miss. So, next to learning lines, I am also learning to take time out for myself again - standing still (figuratively speaking) and just concentrating on the words on the page. This me-time is great, especially considering that I shall be working on auditioning monologues very soon.
Another type of standing still poses more of a problem - the literal kind. Nerves make me twitchy. Not  a good thing when you're trying to stay in the frame. I have already gone from shifting from one leg to the other constantly to being quite still in my body. However, my head now wobbles. Staying in the frame but essentially looking like one of those little wobbly-headed plastic toys you put in the back of a car, well, it's not good either.

The great thing about a film performance class though is that you get to watch yourself back immediately and get up and try again after. As the weeks progress I feel my camera confidence grow my body and my performance being much more grounded.

Barbara, our teacher, says when you've got the lines down organically and you have an idea emotionally of what the relationship of the characters in your scene is about, it is much easier to be still. It's true! When the lines just flow out of you and you can put your energy into the emotion and the opinions you want to express, everything seems to slow down and root you to the spot and into the performance.

Fast paced and stressful as our lives seem to be most of these days there is immense value in re-learning to take time out and to stand still, as an actress and as a human being.

I'm gonna got sit down now with a nice hot cuppa and read my new script. Ah, me-time.

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