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Having Fun = Expressing Happiness, Sadness, Fear & ANGER October 29, 2007

Posted by greenlavender in Acting, Emotions, Personal.
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I just got home from my Intensive Scene Study class. Let me tell you about the course before I ramble about what went on tonight and completely lose you.

Intensive Scene Study is an acting class, where we ‘explore a scene’ using our true selves, i.e. our true feelings, rather than ‘acting them out’. So instead of thinking “I have to cry when I say this line”, we use whatever feeling is truly coming up.

I’ve been taking scene study classes for a year and a half now. It’s an ongoing process; there is no end result — just constant growth. Up to now, I’ve ‘worked’ through sadness (that was a big one), fear and happiness. Believe it or not, happiness was a big one too. Of course, all the feelings come up regularly, but once you get through identifying and working with a feeling for the first time, and identify any blockages related to that feeling, it’s a lot easier to work with after.

Tonight, it was anger. I realized I have a blockage when it comes to anger. When I am acting and I am angry, my ego kicks in and tells me “NO! You can not be angry!!!!” So my acting comes out bullshitty (that’s the technical term for ‘not true’).  I forget to breathe, I am not listening to my scene partner, etc. Then I’ve got my teacher telling me to “let go and have fun”. Whoa. My ego is confused now!! How can I have fun when I am angry? Of course, every inch of my body knows exactly what she is talking about. When you act from your true self, with your true feelings and express these feelings in the work, you have fun, no matter what the feeling.   

While driving home after class, I was bummed. Why the heck didn’t I get out of my head and just did the work, like I usually do? I’ve done scenes before where I got angry and it wasn’t that bad, I got out of it and expressed it. What’s the problem this time?

Well, on my drive home, I pondered that question and its possible answers.  It finally hit me.

I am doing the play “Women in Motion”, where two friends go on a trip to the Caribbean. The key here is “two friends”. None of my other scenes I’ve done have ever been about a friend. I don’t want to be angry in this scene because I am scared of losing my friend. Why? Because that situation happened to me more than once when I was a kid. I mean like at least 5 or 6 times. I used to express all my feelings as a child, without thinking about it. Without knowing it, I probably was offending my friends by expressing my anger. I still can’t prove that, but that’s the idea that has stuck with me for years and years. So I developed this idea that I shouldn’t express my anger in case I offend my friends.

Now as an adult, when I am angry I shutdown and stop seeing and talking to people. I become a kind of hermit for the duration of that ‘anger fit’. That’s my way of making sure I don’t offend (and lose) any friends. 

But this doesn’t help my acting one bit, especially in a scene with a best friend. I am supposed to express that anger, and fully — not 10% of it.

Funny how our body works.

The first step is done: I’ve identified the blockage. Now it’s a matter of choice. I’ve got to choose to express the anger despite what my ego tells me. I’ve got to choose to ‘jump off the cliff’ (that’s an expression Mom, don’t take it literally).

So next week, I am jumping off the cliff. Now I am kind of hoping I will be angry. 😉

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Comments»

1. valerie marsh - November 3, 2008

Awesome. Thank you for writing this. Just the piece of info i was looking for.

2. greenlavender - December 11, 2008

Your welcome Valerie!

3. Peter Green - April 13, 2009

Anger is usually seen as the same as ego (both have to be suppressed, they say), but, Natasha, you have identified the ego correctly as the cause of the suppression of the instinctive and natural feelings of anger.
Anger is the fight against the degradation of our, or anyone’s, sense of self worth and humanity. We do this instinctively, every day. It is not ‘fighting fire with fire’, it is fighting the brutal with the humane.
Be angry. You will find out what you thought was a cliff is a small step for mankind.

greenlavender - April 22, 2009

Thank you Peter.
After a lot of work, I now embrace my anger and express it when it needs to come out. The new challenge I am facing is the people around me being scared of it. I know my anger has nothing to do with anybody around me; it’s always related to my own thoughts and experiences so I am careful not to direct it at anybody. People are generally scared of anger, as I once was. Even though it does not hold any more weight than fear or sadness or happiness.
Where the ego often interrupts is in the expression of the anger. That is most likely what is scary, more than the actual feeling. I believe the ego kicks in when we don’t know how to express a particular feeling. There’s no manual and we are certainly not taught how to express feelings in school. So the ego takes over and expresses the feeling in a… well, ‘ego way’.
Thank you again for your comment. I needed to read that, particular now.


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