“Characters live almost entirely in stretch zones because their rules of engagement (given circumstances) are changing and changing dramatically, either for them or against them.
These stretch zones are powerful as they are made up of moments of huge flux, change and transformation.
Zeroing in on where these stretch zones of life reside, it’s within two of these three phases which all aspects of life can be categized by: creation, maintenance and disintegration/destruction.
Creation is something new, perhaps unexpected or perhaps planned, but something is born, arrives is ushered in, is made material or comes into view.
Maintenance is how we keep the creation going, how we keep it new, fresh, working, stable. For without this stage, the next stage becomes imminent:
Disintegration/Destruction is where either maintenance has not been undertaken, or successful, or, whatever was created comes to its natural conclusion and disappears: the kiss ends, the holiday ends, the romance dies, the sickness or disease recedes, the catastrophe is over.
Almost all drama exists in the first and/or final stages, and this is where most of drama’s action is focused.
Therefore, as actors, that’s the arena we must enter. We cannot remain in our own comfort zone onstage because our characters most likely are not in theirs. This means there is a huge sense of exposure which the character is feeling as the stakes are sky high, and there is an awful lot to gain or lose: the character’s future literally hangs in the balance.
When looking at our choices onstage or onscreen, bigger is not always better and often less is indeed more. But the crucial distinction here is that we’re always looking for 4 things: meaning, impact, significance and cost . These 4 elements must be alive and active in all drama and we as actors must be constantly on the lookout for them: “What does this mean to me? What is the impact of this upon me? What is the short-term and long-term significance of this? What does this cost me right here and right now?”
A quick check-list or guidelines of how to get to where you need to be for effective rehearsals to take place:
- Get on the front foot.
- Get out of your head and in your body.
- Be with the other actor 100%.
- Be engaged in a world which has real depth and meaning.
- Remember: your character has significant moment by moment needs – activate them.
- Look for what you could gain and lose and allow this to drive you and give you energy.
- Make sure you’re ON: fully connected via all of your senses.
- Make sure you’re UP for it: ready for the adventure to unfold and open to be transformed.
- Know the drama lives inside of you and the other actor – make a pact to trust both.
- Give up obligation – welcome exploration.
Each of the points above dovetail and can help initiate the others.
So be alert, get active, be open to change and know your character’s future depends upon each and every moment. From this standpoint, now speak your character’s truth and be 100% open to discovery…”