Every actor, at some point in his or her career, will asks the question, "How do I cry on cue"?
The real question is, " How does one allow oneself to be vulnerable on cue?" - this difference in phrasing implies "availability" or "availing oneself to something, rather than trying to generate a product - in our case, an action or effect. In trying to generate something - there is effort and forcefulness, a hardening of the muscles and a narrowing of the mind and heart that is antithetical to the openness, availability and exposure that is vulnerability. After all "crying", or a better term, heartbreak, is more reaction than action - it is a reaction to an action or event. Here, I fondly recall Mojisola's tongue in cheek wisdom, "[The Degree in Acting] should be called a Degree in RE-Acting instead of a Degree in Acting."
During my process, I think I have found the key, or at least one of the lynchpins for an actor to share his or her vulnerability with an audience. It is "showing up fully", as vulnerability researcher Brené Brown says.
It is scary to be fully present, to be fully alive - to show up fully in life, I realise. The subconscious thinking is this, "What if I show up fully - give all that I am, and it ends disastrously? What if I get rejected? It is always safer to show up partially, so that if I get rejected, if something goes wrong, I have protected/prevented myself from a whole lot of heartbreak." Perhaps, this is why it is difficult for many, and I speak for myself, to show up fully.
I realise how this is so related to the Gaze Work that Aole teaches us - "allow yourself to be seen" he always says. - I realise that I hide away as a default, a habit. I'm there, but I'm not really there. I speak but I don't really want to be heard. I allow people to see me physically, but I am apprehensive about allowing all of me to be seen. What if they see all of me and they don't like what they see and that's all I've got?
there is an openness that happens when one becomes vulnerable. Suddenly the mask drops, the person's body and heart surrenders rather than constricts. The person is forced completely into the present.
Vulnerability often occurs in relationship too. As difficult as it is to be vulnerable with another person than it is being vulnerable in the privacy of one's solitude, the presence of another human galvanises the effect - either one is really shut down or really emotional. There is something in connection/relationship that brings out our deepest fears and desires. Could it be because we are mirrors to each other - human beings with essentially the same needs and desires at our core? Through another, we know ourselves in unique ways we could not know by ourselves alone. Perhaps why the word for sexual intimacy in the Bible means simply "to know". Or could it be because our deepest fears and dreams drive us to our deepest core - reminds our sleeping consciousnesses of the Fall - we may not recall but our DNA remembers. And our desire points us to the One we truly desire.
Performance Artist, Marina Abramovic, talks about presence human connection and our deepest needs and desires:
Marina Abramovic's The Artist Is Present
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This journal documents my process as an actor, reflecting upon the various techniques, methods, training and discoveries I make as I continue to hone my craft.