To Be, Or Not To Be.
Hundreds of curious eyes fill up the space, yet not a mouth is opened, the silence intensifies. The strategic lights paint your cheeks pink and the fabric on your arms becomes familiar. Floating above this sea of forgotten eyes, time stops and everything but the light in the back of the room turns to darkness.
A sudden wave of peace soars over you, extending itself to that light you find yourself focussing on. The room becomes sacred. Word by word, breath by breath, you untangle your heart and it swims across the room and returns, twice as strong.
The darkness is filled with memories. You gently move your gaze from the light and meet new thoughts, even though you’ve been learning them for weeks, now they are fresh. The uninterrupted moment creates a momentum making what’s to come magical. Addictive. You feel human again.
To act is not to pretend, to act is to be real. If anything you can find more ‘actors’ on your way to work than you would on stage. An actor slices open their core, filled with experiences that in some way left an emotional mark on them, and they pull from those emotions to bring truth and colour to a character. The words their character says, the way they move, comes from a place of truth; come from that time in grade eight when someone looked into their eyes and said that they could ‘see the world’, from that time when they were ten and they fell down the stairs at school and their mom hugged them tight to make everything better, from that time when they were twenty-two and had their first direct and sudden encounter with death.
We are all human and know what it’s like to feel. Creating, building and becoming a character is a mix of humanity and imagination, which all of us have within ourselves.
Acting appears extrospective when it is actually introspective. An opportunity to indulge in feelings, and grow in self awareness, with no rush from the real world. Through the process of getting into character, we explore layers of ourselves, which need to be understood before we can begin to successfully understand our characters.
Very often we will be on a bus, sucked into a phone, a worry, a conversation. It’s not as easy to lift our heads and allow ourselves the freedom to just be, without doing anything. Maybe that is because in our day-to-day we’re swept up in our worlds with too many things to think about and not enough space to breath and think organically.
When one steps on stage, all of the above dissolves, to give them space to be in the moment. All they need to think about at that point in time, is being present. This is why acting is so special. The stage gives you a safe space to be unapologetically alive.
The scene slowly comes to a close as you turn to your scene partner, attentively listening. There is an unwavering focus in their eyes. Sharing a moment of eye contact, you see the world.