Creative Hiding

I have written a lot about the “Physical Action” and “Behavior” in order to create a full, truthful life on stage or in front of the camera.  I have quoted Robert DeNiro who encouraged actors to find their characters by, “doing the actions of the character.”  A crucial element of understanding physical life in acting is woven into the concept of “CREATIVE HIDING”.   CREATIVE HIDING is a natural human and animal instinct that avoids direct confrontation.  It often enables us to protect ourselves–or the person we are engaging with–from having feelings hurt.  The understanding of this truth of human behavior, and the rejection of many actors’ performance instincts to “stand and deliver”, leads us to the deeper psychology of human behavior.  Hiding your emotions from yourself and others is what we do every day.  Your physical tasks become a physical mask.

Do I need to look into her eyes?  Or do I need to NOT look into her eyes?  Is it actually almost impossible to look her in the eye when I tell her what I have to tell her?  Where do I put my attention?  Is it into what I am cooking?  Swirling the ice in my drink?  Picking the lint (that isn’t really there) off my pants?  Or just staring at a spot on the wall?  Can I explore the texture of the fabric of the tablecloth with my fingertip, or my hat in my hands–as I seduce her?  Can I play the skyline instead of him?  Am I freer, more spontaneous when fiddling with my food?  Many actors, when exploring this technique, find that we are.  This deep, “cerebellum based”, animal kingdom truth creates an instinctive, intuitive, physical relationship to the situation and the other human being.  It feels so honest, true and real, that we totally relax into our performance.  Through that relaxation, our spontaneity and creativity become immediately engaged.

Often, Creative Hiding is required by a director in order to tell the STORY on multiple levels.  The Actor is asked to “hide” from the other Actor in the scene, but to “open up–downstage” to the audience.  This way the audience is privileged to the private thoughts or expression of the Actor while the other Actor or character is not.  This same technique is used by film directors.  One character moves into a close-up, facing the camera, while the other character is in the background, also looking toward the camera.  The character in the background does not see what the audience is seeing in the great detail of the close-up.  What we the audience are privy to are the private thoughts of the character that the actor is “hiding” from the other character in the scene.

When you have to give someone “bad news” and you continue to fiddle with your coffee–instead of meeting the person eye to eye–the truthfulness of this behavior can make you more expressive.  It invites a more total investment in your internal life and the circumstances of the scene.  This deeper “investment” in the given circumstances, in turn, invites more full emotional connection to the larger situation, story, and your scene partner.  Creative Hiding can often be a path to deeper more truthful emotional response for you.  “It” is in the coffee.

The catalyst for the universal truth and depth of emotion in the scene is this little technique called “CREATIVE HIDING”.  Create this familiar behavioral dynamic with others, and you will likely discover your deepest emotions, and your deepest sense of truth in your work.

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Adam Lazarre-White Adam Lazarre-White grew up in NYC, graduated from Harvard University with Honors, started at QB for the “Crimson” and played in the Harvard Jazz Band. He is known for roles on Scandal, Heroes, Ocean’s 13, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, The Temptations, Living Single, The Parkers, and starring on The Young & The Restless. Adam’s writing and directing have become equal pursuit in recent years; and he has owned his acting school in Hollywood, ALW Acting Studios since 2000. For info on Adam's classes, acting, writing & directing visit his website at