I am sure this is a question that every actor at some point in their life has reflected on, maybe more
When asked this question it sometimes feels like a psychoanalytical interrogation and feelings of vulnerability, panic, excitement and courage all at once surface. Don’t ask me why? Maybe it’s just me who becomes slightly emotional when asked this question. It’s a big question for us who have devoted our lives to the craft and allowed it to permeate through our whole being. It is part of who we are and what motivates us.
Personally I have found myself through acting. I discovered a vulnerability in myself that I did not recognise or maybe had just suppressed. I found I could drop my guard and reveal the layers beneath, the colour and tone which made me unique and allowed me to breathe life into the stagnant parts of my being, the parts that didn’t fully breathe and develop. I always remember an acting tutors words reminding me ‘not to hide my light under a bushel’. This has always stayed with me. I try to shine my light bright and never let it darken.
Acting has taught me that I play an important role in this world. I have the ability to tap into an energy that abounds with curiosity, which is fearless, daring, playful and empathetic.
And as an actor empathy is vital. We empathise with others and basically ‘put ourselves in their shoes‘ We portray truth and honesty in the characters we inhabit. It’s such a remarkable feeling to play someone else, to see the world through their eyes. Perhaps a little bit of escapism is enjoyed, a step away from all worldly concerns for a short spell, a slight out of body experience, or more out of mind experience as the true actor should always be fully present in their body. The emotional and the physical are one and this awareness should be cultivated from the moment you step into a space to explore acting.
My impulse to act came from the desire to use myself in my art, when I was studying Sculpture, toying with the idea of performance art, and wanting to express myself through physicality and voice. I was 18 when I rediscovered acting as I had experienced some of the magic when younger but now it fully connected and the shoe fit. This felt like who I was supposed to become.
So, for you who are contemplating acting as a career don’t wait for someone else to remind you of your light, ignite your own flame as the path ahead will be an exciting and revealing one.