As I move forward in my arc of time, which is a nice way of saying I am getting old, I will occasionally wander into a room in my home, pause, and then try to remember why I went into that room. "What did I come in here for?"
And that moment is a good jumping off point for our discussion in today's blog entry. That question, or a variation of it, is really an important one for an actor. I will often chide an actor or group of actors I am directing, saying that an actor needs to know why they are coming onstage. And the answer needs to be much more than, "Well, the director told me to enter here". At any given moment on the stage, a director should be able to stop you and ask why you are on the stage. Why is your character there, right there, now? What is the purpose of your being there? Are you there to get something out of another character? ( Hint: The answer is almost always, yes you are). Or perhaps you are there for your own purpose, only to have that purpose interrupted and changed by the introduction of another character, with reasons of their won.
We call this idea of having a reason for being in a given space at a certain time intention.It should be an easy skill to have as a performer, as our entire lives are filled with intentions. Small ones; I need a glass of water, I want to update my Facebook. And large ones; I hope to find love, I want to earn a law degree. Knowing what your characters intention is at any given point in the play can make the character stronger and clearer, and make your work better.
Which, after all, should be your intention.
The Actors Sensei
Acting and Speech Coach for All Ages