A few thoughts on acting.
As a child, I assumed that acting was pretending. Pretending to be someone you are not. For many years I tried my best to become someone else, thinking and feeling like I was this other person. I tried to become an expert at showing others that I could become someone I’m not.
Recently, I have realized that this really is the process of a child. A child assumes that you COULD be someone else – that you could somehow become someone you are not. But I have come to realize that this is not so. Even when I pretend at my very best, the ME in me always seems to shine through. So all my attempts at being someone else were always ultimately in vain.
Really, the best actors do not become anyone else. In fact quite the opposite. What distinguishes the strong actor from the weak is the one who is willing to go to places in themselves that they had never previously explored. To overcome the fears inherent in exploring yourself more deeply. Acting is not a process of pretending to be someone else – it is a process of becoming yourself in a deeper, more expressive, more genuine way. So it is not really about being someone else – it is about experiencing yourself differently, bringing to the surface parts of yourself you would not have otherwise have experienced.
So when you see a great actor, when you experience a performance that moves you, consider what it took for that person to go there – to go to that place in themselves and bring that to the surface. And appreciate that, if you were not willing to go there on some level too, you wouldn’t have been moved by them in the first place.