One of the reasons I wanted to be an actor was because I was told that acting meant you identified real emotions and reacted to the world around – like real life. So I was interested, so how did this lead me down the long and winding bath of starting out as a professional dancer, then becoming an opera singer to then come full circle to acting?
Well, it starts like this, I tried acting when I was 13, but the teacher wanted us to ‘melt like ice cream’ and ‘sway like a tree’. This was as far as I figured you could get from identifying real emotions and reacting to the world around me. How am I suppose to know how an ice cream feels when it melts or how a tree feels when it sways in the breeze? So I didn’t want anything to do with it. So where did that leave me? I joined the choir, they said I had talent, but needed come instruction, so that’s what I did. Along the way, I had a friend who was taking dance lessons, thought it sounded like fun and went along. Seems, there, too, they said I had talent, only problem was with the dancing is my career I knew would be short because I a serious injury when I was 14, so all that was left was the singing, so I kept on with that, to the point where I found myself
studying opera in university, as I knew very little about this style of music. I grew up in a world of country and folk music, my parents and my upbringing had nothing to do with the classical world of music.
So, I went out and tried a career in the classical music world with some success and still do it as and when I can, but really, my heart was always pulling towards acting, so when I joined the actors centre in London and took Scott Williams introduction class, that was it! No more melting like ice cream or swaying in the breeze. I found a place that was all about identifying emotions and learning how to work with my impulses to be able to react better with those I work with on stage, in a class room or in singing.
I now feel that thing in singing they talk about when you use the whole body. It’s no longer just in the mind or a hit and miss kinda event. I now have ways to get the whole of my system up and running, which allows me to read and respond to the moment. That is a great thing to be a part of, almost feels like you have a super human power, but really all it is, is being open to what has always been there right in front of me. So I notice if I am getting really locked in myself or if I feel I’m not quite connected to who and what is going on in front of me – my bullshit monitor is more fine tuned and I like it!
For me, the biggest difference between acting and impulse work is, acting takes a lot of effort to make it happen, impulse just happens and it doesn’t require me to think about a dead cat that died when I was 5 to help me get in the mode. I just get on the rollercoaster of emotions and ride – yeah ha!
What are your experiences of riding your roller coasters?