Last week, a student told me he was *so excited* because his new scene partner was courageous and willing to push outside of his comfort zone. Actors often say they want to be in a class with actors who are better than they, but I would like to encourage you to want to be in a class with actors who are willing to expand the limits of their comfort zone.
Acting requires fearlessness; and that can be terrifying! Maybe our character would do this scary thing – but our ego says, “No way, you’re not going to do that! You’re going embarrass yourself. You’re going to look stupid.” or “You’re going to get hurt.” Poor little ego, it’s afraid and it just wants to protect us. But since acting requires that we step into a character’s circumstances by meeting them where they live, we have to distract our ego with technique. That’s where The 9 Questions of Intentional Acting come in; it’s a way of tricking our ego into doing things it normally wouldn’t.
And sometimes, we just need to tell ego and fear to take a hike.
Uzo Aduba of Orange is the New Black did just that when had to pee on camera in front of director Jodie Foster. Here’s how she describes it:
“I remember thinking, ‘This is happening! I can’t believe it! And my mom is going to see me doing this, too!’ But Crazy Eyes is fearless, so I needed to be fearless. She lives all the way, and if I don’t meet her where she lives, she doesn’t live. Even if that means peeing on floors. As strange as it sounds, if I go half-way with urinating, it doesn’t feel honest and the payoff isn’t going to be satisfying for anyone. Crazy Eyes has taught me so much, because she’s very solid in who she is. She’s always connected to the truth and bets on love every time, no matter what the cost. And she’s not afraid to pee in front of others, which also helps me understand what kind this was going to be. No boundaries, no rules.”
No boundaries. No rules. Push yourself. Tell that ego to take a hike. Make every scene you do an adventure and before you know it, you’ll be soaring past your comfort zone!
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