Back in September when I was in New York, I asked the students (as I always do when I’m assessing a class) what they felt were areas in their work they still were developing. The answers, although different for each student, also were very similar.
Like everything in acting, the things we most need to develop are the areas that have their own corresponding equivalent in our own personal lives. Since acting is, as Academy Award-winner, Tilda Swinton, says, “all autobiography,” then what we’re constantly going to be pulling from and coming up against and trying to explore more of is . . . well . . . our life.
And where we have withholds, fears, tensions, resistance, judgments, secrets, denials and avoidance of things in our own life, we’re going to come up against them in our acting. There’s just no other way. But they’re there for a reason.
It’s OK to have these things. In fact it’s necessary, because the art of self-exploration (and ultimate self-realization) allows us to uncover areas of our lives that hold us back, keep us locked in fear and anxiety, and prevent us from being really, totally free.
To not explore them and uncover them keeps us locked in their prisons, where we never actually experience their benefit and what they have to teach us. But to have awareness of what and where they are and gently unravel them, then gives us access to latent potential and possibility that wouldn’t be there without them.
So for sure, they’re a curse (in a way), until they become the blessing.
And I don’t think we ever fully overcome them. Academy Award-nominee, Joaquin Phoenix, recently said in an interview that he’s been in the business for 30 years and he still feels fear when approaching the work.
So it never ends. But having the awareness that you feel fear and then pushing through it to discover what’s on the other side is what brings you to a place of pure creativity. You come face-to-face with yourself and what’s possible for you.
You realize that all the things in your own life are actually there working for you if you but allow them to.