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Student Blog: Pulling From Reality

“Acting is not about being someone different. It's finding the similarity in what is apparently different, then finding myself in there.”

Student Blog: Pulling From Reality

Last year I took an acting class where one of the assignments was to observe a person and at the end of the week to perform as that person for 5 minutes. Our only rule was to avoid staring and arrest of course. At first I thought this assignment sounded a little strange, and it was. But now it has become a part of my process as an actress. We had to take note of how the person we chose moves, how they walk, how they talk, what part of their body they led with. We were encouraged to walk around Central Park, the subway, the airport, Times Square, grocery stores, coffee shops etc. I chose an employee in a coffee shop who had the night shift. I just so happened to be walking the same dog on Wag (you know how it is) that whole week so it worked out pretty smoothly. I'd walk past the shop for probably 5 seconds each night and immediately received tons of information. This person held their head up high and smiled as if the job was enjoyable. Night after night, I saw more in these very small increments of time. This assignment made me so specifically aware of my surroundings. I didn't realize how much was going on around me. Now if I ever need any help with my acting skills or creating a character that is apparently different than myself, I pull from reality.

Student Blog: Pulling From Reality This makes me think of a quote by Meryl Streep. "Acting is not about being someone different. It's finding the similarity in what is apparently different, then finding myself in there." I felt this very fitting for the assignment. What is apparently different may be the walk, the talk, and the mannerisms. "Find yourself in there," that's a whole other blog. We take Meryl Streep quotes in chunks; they are brimming of wisdom and need not be rushed through. By the end of the week I was moving like the person I chose, mimicking their posture, breathing like them, carrying out their emotions, it felt like I knew them. Like in the way we grow to know our characters. Not only did I start to notice things about the person I had chosen but so many others. I started paying attention to relationships, environment, and situations. The relationship between two best friends is different than two strangers. Is there hugging, hand holding, awkward eye contact, real smiles, fake smiles? What's the mood and what does the body language say about it? What's the location, what might these people be doing here? Is that a photographer, I see people in beautiful dresses; it could be for a wedding. Where's the couple? Are they calm and collected or nervous? Go out into the world and take notes. It's really interesting and gives you this whole new perspective. Write down a couple questions, you'll be surprised how full the answers are. The more you know, the stronger the character.

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