My training in acting has been intense. I have a Post graduate degree from the Webber Duuglass Academy which was in London. It is the same school Ben Kinglsey, Minnie Driver and Julia Armond went to, I attended Penn State and was studying Acting while Keegan-Michael Key and Ty Burrel were there and I went to New World School of the Arts, whose graduates are all over Broadway. My name is Susie K Taylor and just to be clear...you have never heard of me.
I have trained for many many years to learn the skill of acting, to learn what it means to fully inhabit another a ROLE. How they talk, how they walk, what they think, how they feel. What is always fascinating to me is that most of the my personal human condition can be manipulated to allow for this transformation. I can be altered and changed and eventually, ideally, where the role starts and I stop begins to blur.
This can be dangerous.
As I said, I am not famous, so I can't say all actors have this experience, maybe because I have this experience I am not famous? Ahh.. the insecure mind of an actor, another hazard.
But the truth is, I will find myself starting to say my characters lines inside a normal conversation with my family. I will start to actually use my characters words to describe things in my day and I will even begin to see thing through their eyes and not my own.
This is called getting into character. For an actor this is a total high. You are possessed in a way and willing to be so. I guess it is a really vamped up way of how when you hang out with someone for any extended amount of time you start to take on their mannerisms. That is what acting can be like. But there is a danger to acting that no one really admits.
Well, I saw one interview about it with Sally Field and a few others talking about going in to character and what you have to open up as far as wounds and memories you paid a therapist a lot of money to get over.
You have to open those feelings back up, dive back into them and remember exactly how it felt to feel that way. This is called AS IF. You are acting in your scene AS IF it was what actually happened or could have very easily happen to you. So you have to pull on your own experiences and that is where things get messy. Your mind at some point is being played with. The ability for an actor to go through feelings and emotions on a dime is a wonderful skill but to close those feeling down again, turn the emotional journey switchboard off when the play ends. That is the real talent.
There was a technique I learned when I was studying acting in camp Bucks Rock. I was 13 and had just finished playing the role of the Imaginary Invalid. After the play closed, I found myself in the camp's infirmary every two days. The acting coach heard about it and took me into the woods and did this "grounding out" technique with me. At first it felt like a joke. I stood there and dropped my head to my feet and pounded my feet into the ground and evetually I released this ROLE, this energy, this character. It was weird, I stood up and I felt totally fine.
That is when I knew I was a method actor. I delved into the roles I played with vengeance and I stayed there even when I would leave rehearsal. I would walk though the city with them on me, eat dinner as they would and slowly we were intertwined and then the play would end and I would be left. The role would be left. Where exactly?
I honestly have to say it goes into my psyche and sets up shop like a habit until you ask or rather demand for it to leave, You ever wonder about the lives of actors and why they can be so volatile or even deadly? I would venture to say it has to do with the high-risk aspect of messing around with their psyche...in my experience acting is like race car driving...skillful, intense and exciting and in the end...you hope you get out of it without too much collateral damage.