Week Six- Stanislavsky speaks from the grave

Dear Diary,

today I’m going to ask Shannon to the prom and I can’t tell you HOW EXCITED I AM!!!

……..sorry, wrong entry.


Week six of this class and I’ve learned plenty. This week however, I sat on the sidelines to watch my fellow actors show their stuff in their chosen scenes. I watched each scene unfold and even though I’d seen the scenes from weeks before, they were getting the marble chipped away to reveal each actor’s Venus di Milo. So I watched especially when you gave notes to the actors. Some made very small changes and some changed their whole scene. Most of the time it was for the better. One thing every actor had in common was that they had all been working hard on their scene and their minds were on that scene and nothing else. It showed in their face and movements.

And all this reminded me of what I gleaned from my Stanislavski readings. Stanislavski discovered that internal experiences and their physical expression are unbreakably united. He said that, “The first fact is that the elements of the human soul and the particles of the human body are indivisible.” The books says that concept was proven by scientists including Pavlov, who showed how to make a dog drool (certainly the body showed it’s soul’s desires). Ask any man who tries to tell his wife there is no more cookie dough- his body will give up the lie one way or another because it’s connected to his soul. But I wanted to apply it to my acting. So I remembered an audition I had a few weeks back where my wife was helping me tape and also reading with me. We got into an argument that spiraled into us having to take a break. When we finally started recording, it took many more takes than it normally does. My soul and my body were at war with each other because my body was trying to act and my soul was sad  from the argument. Sure, acting is being who you are not, but when who we are is so troubled, sometimes there is no way to portray a character honestly without revealing the conflict. So now I try to do everything I can to be sweet to my wife if I have a self tape. I find that if she is happy, the taping goes smoother…and the tapes have improved greatly!

But it doesn’t work for everything. Yesterday, I had my first in person audition in two years at CRM studios in Los Colinas. It was for a commercial for an ambulance chasing law firm similar to that lawyer, “The Hammer” you see on TV all the time. Except this guy has a chain saw. And he’s standing on top of an 18 wheeler. The breakdown listed none of this. Luckily I have a bit of improv experience, because there was no way the elements of my human soul were going to be in sync with the particles of my body. But nevertheless, I used m experience from my self tapes in trying to have a clear mind, a tabula rasa, in order to give what the casting director was asking for- because I sure wasn’t expecting the directions I got in the room. But as I left, I felt it was a great read and I left feeling I had done my job with the training I had not only honed over the years but also with the new aspects I’m getting from class and the reading material. I have another in person audition Monday at the same place. This one has absolutely no help on the character. All it says is,

“Casting: 3 Males & 3 FemalesAges: Ages 35-50Ethnicities: Caucasian, Hispanic, African American, Asian”

I guess that fits me…and about most of the people in the Dallas Fort Worth area.

But it doesn’t matter. I’m learning more through experience, research, life experiences and of course, this class.

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