I had a one-session workshop with Will Wallace last night. I really like and respect Will, and get a ton out of his workshops each year.
And last night's class was ... really hard. Seriously, I was up all night, and my stomache's in knots.
I mean it was a good class, too, and I may write some more about the details of the class later, but I need to talk about what messed me up.
We were doing my scene, and I wasn't getting where I needed to be on my own. Will gave me three rapid fire directions, which I took in-stride with the scene, and created three immediate levels of texture to my performance.
We got done with the scene, and Will said, "Gah, Adam! You took the direction and you did it! In stride, in the scene, you got there! But you don't let you give yourself that same direction, and you don't let you do something with it."
Probably one of the better summaries of where I'm stuck right now.
I know I get stuck in my head. I know that problem is not unique to me among actors. I knew that's one key area I needed to work on when I talked to my agent last week about what kind of coaches I should be thinking about. She told me I need to work with folks that can get me out of head.
Hey, it's OK if I recognize I've got a problem; I don't need other folks pointing it out to me. Which Will also did after the exchange above. And right before a really cool guitar analogy that made a lot of sense to me.
This isn't limited to my acting.
It's my life. That's why acting is so important to me.
I'm a head person. I'm a leader and an intellectual and while I'm also driven out of the need to act ethically and morally, I can get pretty separated from my heart in work, religion, relationships.
Acting gets me my heart back. For me it links the mind and the soul and makes me more of a whole person and gets me closer to myself and other people and God.
This is so important to me -- not just for the Craft, but for me.
I was working through so much stuff last night, and was getting frustrated about things like I felt like I had made some pretty strong choices for my scene last night, but they were the wrong choices (acting is relative). And I get frustrated that I feel like I keep making the wrong choices.
And that's usually where I stop -- frustrated and stuck.
But not last night. Oh, no -- Last night was "Epiphany/Grow-up Night #372". Last night I started to dig into why "I keep making the wrong choices."
I think in scene work I keep looking for that hook in my real life that makes the scene "come alive" for me. The way that plays out is something like I find the germ of something (selfish relationship fight) and over-amp it for the scene (husband/wife divorce scene).
Which is fine, except for me (wait for it) ...
I try to make the scene happen, rather than let the scene happen.
There. That was one of my big ephiphanies. But it couldn't stop there. Noooo -- Now I needed to figure out how to let the scene happen, rather than make it happen.
Thinking nonstop about how I'm stuck in my head is probably not a good way to get unstuck in my head.
I am so freaking tired ...