THE ACTOR IS THE INSTRUMENT
May 15, 2009.
I was thinking about the fact that the actor IS the instrument she is trying to play. A musician is either able to play a section of music or not. There is no judgement about not being able to play something; they just keep practicing and working until they can. They can be objective about the music. An actor has to find the same objectivity but it’s much harder when the instrument is you. You have to let the music come through you, or not, and then you have to put your personal feelings about it aside and step back and ask whether it worked. If something in my scene doesn’t work, why not take the perspective of the musician instead of the instrument, have a laugh, and figure out how to tweak it? The violin doesn’t start crying because the musician tripped up on a scale. It just lets itself be played again and again until the music is there. It’s the same with a dancer … the muscles are stretched and toned and exercised until finally they are flexible enough to do anything the dancer demands of them. With the actor, one’s emotions and inner demons and personal experiences are the muscles that get stretched or the scales that get played. Thinking about it this way makes my head spin but it puts everything into balance.