Careers: Acting, Performing, Directing/imaginary circumstances

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Question
Hello Mr. Plonkey, My name is Joanne and Ive been having problems with staying out of my head and with my imaginary circumstances. I feel like once I master one i'll get the other, but I have such a problem staying out of my head. Also, I notice whenever im in the shower or in bed it is relatively easy to imagine circumstances that are completely make-beleive and be fully emotionally invested in them; however when I'm performing with people staring it feels completely different. How can I free myself to be as emotionally free all the time while im performing in front of others.

Answer
Hi Joanne, It sounds to me as though this is just a matter of imagination and concentration.  Whenever you are acting with someone in a class scene or audition or in a play or film, the first thing you have to do is accept the circumstances of the play--where it takes place, when it takes place, who you are and who the other people are.  This is an exercise in imagination.  You must make-believe that the circumstances are true and you are this person in them.  I advise taking a moment before you do such acting to switch on your imagination just as you do at home in the shower or bedroom. Wm Esper calls this daydreaming.  It is a good way of looking at it.  Harrison Ford says that when ever he acts, he says to himself, "OK, Let's pretend."  He means that he is going to accept the circumstances of the scene as real-at least in his imagination.  This is what you must do to be effective as an actor.  Second, staying out of your head is simply a matter of concentration and listening.  You have to be completely focused on the scene and what is happening in it.  You 'listen' with all of your senses to fully be immersed and so you will react fully and emotionally to the scene.  when you have an audience you are focusing on the wrong thing. You are focusing on you being an actor in front of an audience when you should be focusing on being in the scene.  I hope this brief explanation is helpful to you and that you will start having more success being effective in  your performances. God bless, Doc

Careers: Acting, Performing, Directing

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Kenneth D. Plonkey

Expertise

Questions about acting and directing. Questions about getting started in a careeer. Questions about training and schooling for actors.

Experience

I am a retired film actor. I am a retired university theatre program director and professor. I am the author of "The Tao of Acting, Mentoring for the Aspiring Actor" to be published this summer.

Organizations
SAG

Education/Credentials
BA, MA, PhD in Theatre Post graduate study with certificate in Media Acting

Awards and Honors
John Golden Traveling Fellowship

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