How to Free Your Work

iStock_000026905514_SmallHere are some techniques and exercises that will help you be more alive and free in your work.  They will help you ‘break the glass’ of the typical constraints of your persona, help you find new, exciting, “risky” ways to express yourself and undo the habitual rhythms you find your self repeating over and over in your acting.

Sing The Scene
Do exactly that.  SING THE ENTIRE SCENE TO EACH OTHER.  Be silly.  Have fun.  Make your serious dramatic scene into a musical theater piece.  Make your comedy scene hilarious, ridiculous.  This exercise should also clarify your “Intentions” as you sing angrily, lovingly or try to make your partner laugh.  It should ‘break the glass’ of the scene, what you think is appropriate, what you think is possible and – ALSO – help you find humor in the scene.

“Overalls”
These are sensory states that can exist ‘over’ or ‘under’ or ‘together with’ other sensory layers that are more momentary, finite or primary.  “OVERALL” states can be based in reality – for instance, “heat” can be an “overall” in a scene where you want to increase the agitation of your character.  The “heat” can be coming from the weather or from a fever, hormones, or shame raising your heart rate.  They are different.  Be specific.  “Overalls” can free you from boring, rehearsed rhythms or overly rigid ideas of what is ‘naturalistic’.  “OVERALLS” do not have to be based in reality.  More creative and artistic “Overalls” work even more powerfully in your effort to free your expression in your work.  They can be a surreal creation that informs the scene, activates the actor and creates seemingly arbitrary, unpredictable behavior that is actually grounded in a very specific imaginary truth.

Example:  you can create an “OVERALL” of ‘Mirrors’; where your entire body is covered in tiny little mirrors that no one else can see.  Hence, every time you look at your hands or your knee or your feet, you see your reflection.  Clearly, the poetic symbolism for both a narcissistic character and a chronically insecure character would be illuminated by a character that was always looking at themselves in their mind’s eye.

Example:  create an “Overall” of insects running over your body during a scene of terror or revulsion.  See what happens.  You may find a ‘genius moment’ that you would have never found basing the entire scene on a strict sense of realism.

Leap Of Faith Technique
Actors often get caught up in trying to “feel” the feelings before they are willing to “act”. This can be paralyzing.  The action and feeling can be symbiotic.  They often go together. They need each other to exist.  Sometimes you must TAKE THE ACTION AND THE FEELINGS WILL RISE.  Take a “LEAP OF FAITH”.  Curl up in a fetal position on the floor and hug yourself, and you might feel insecure, vulnerable, alone, child-like.  Smack your hand on the table, feel it sting, raise your voice, point your finger, pace the room and your heart rate will rise… you might feel the beginnings of anger.

“Jibberish”
Play the entire scene without words, only sounds and ‘nonsense language”.  Try to communicate with your partner on a very high level despite the absence of words.  …This will actually clarify your words for you.  It will also clarify your “Intentions”.  More importantly, it can be very freeing, open you up to new ways to express yourself and affect your partner.  A fun variation is to ‘Play the scene with NO WORDS’.  Simply ‘live’ on stage and communicate with your partner physically.  Engage – or disengage – physically.  FREE YOURSELF of your ‘dependence on the words’ to express yourself.

 

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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 www.adamlazarre-white.com