By failing to make script analysis a priority a difficulty I came across was portraying an idea of image and understanding of the text. An exercise I have been practising with is Berry’s (2001) method of saying the text out loud and as the actor goes through the speech, they must act out the images with their body as they say them. This is furthering my knowledge of what words mean particularly when performing a monologue. It is shifting my focus I’m using this to build on my current monologue practise, finding the image through my body first is adding more meaning behind the words; which is connecting me the text. If I can fully understand and experience visually what is going on in a speech, it will allow the audience to better connect to it. However, it does not tie in well with my Meisner practice as one of his pet hates is I said previously, I tend to fall into old habits and become too involved in the character oppose to myself, which results in me showing the audience everything I am feeling. This creates a barrier between me and the other actor as we disengage, so there is no ping pong action. An exercise I found extremely helpful when stuck in my head is the ‘Point of View’ task required for my character to distinguish in the opposing character to help put the focus back on them. This works for me because having an objective gives me a game to play and a reason to ‘do’ something to the other character, through their objective creating a watchable scene.
Meisner’s methods have helped to free me up as an actor. He has not only developed my confidence on stage, but also in everyday life. The ability to allow yourself to let go, get out of your own head and have trust in your partner is quite terrifying. I never realised how much I worked internally as an actor which prevented me from noticing how important the other person is. Slowly but surely by removing old habits I possess as an actor and following his system, I am getting closer to naturalistic acting I desire to achieve. I aim to maintain a consistency of being in the moment and using improvisation training as a tool to help me with this. I’d like to be able to use his idea of daydream more in my rehearsal processes to dig deeper into my imagination and train myself to connect both my natural behaviour with that of the character.
Cicely Berry’s methods have given me a greater understanding of the text and acknowledging image, rhythm and punctuation to find meaning. Her voice exercises are proving to develop my vocal quality particularly with my recent struggles or poor diction. I will continue working on her tensions exercises to help further my ability to naturally project and now that Showcase is approaching, I would like to be able to achieve this by then. My goal is to practise more with Shakespeare, as I experimented most of Berry’s exercises with modern speech as it was easier for me to understand them. So, to challenge myself in the future, my next step is to completely delve into this.
By putting both Meisner and Berry into my practise, I now have a great set of tools to power me through a text and into a scene. The main thing I have learned through the study of both practitioners and throughout my course yet, is the importance of listening. The results a performance can show when two actors are really listening to one another is truly inspiring. The work I am putting into practise now, shows me that I have grown as an actor and will continue to progress with these methods throughout my career.