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© Jeffrey Marcus, 2015 | Site implemented by HEAVE
23rd of February

Obstacles


While we may talk a lot about our actions (what we’re actively doing) in scenes, the choice that adds the most ‘flavor and spice’ to any event is the obstacles. Obstacles, for our purposes, are the challenges that are keeping us from attaining what we want.

In our day to day life, we spend an inordinate amount of time (and wasting far too much energy) on our obstacles: financial, romantic, health or familial.

“If acting were easy, everyone would do it”, is an oft repeated phrase. Part of what draws us to our life’s endeavors are the challenges that are presented. Think of how boring life would be if you arrived in LA, immediately were given gig after gig, never having to struggle – you’d probably invent issues so that there was something to feel challenged by (Oy, so many lines to learn and not enough down time!).

Even our ‘nerves’ in the audition are a challenge that we wish we didn’t have, but without this adrenaline coursing through our being, we may not have the capacity to go as deeply or reach for the stars. Tension is like salt, the perfect amount brings out the flavor of the dish – too much and it’s all that you can taste. Obstacles, married to the intention, create the dynamic tension in any performance.

As you go through your day, notice and embrace your obstacles, as opportunities to reach higher and dig deeper. This is the way the we expand ourselves and build our actor’s tool belt.

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Categories:  Blog
18th of September

Polé, Polé (pronounced po’-lay)


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What I bring back from my African trip is a Swahili phrase that I heard over and over – “Polé, Polé (slowly, slowly)”. The biggest overall adjustment that I find myself giving actors is urging them to slow down (while they are talking, not before talking –i.e, going into their heads before responding). When we are not rushing to get through the scene, you actually have to time to savor what is happening – bringing nuance to the proceedings (this doesn’t necessarily apply to sit-coms). Often, it feels like the actor just wants to get through the scene so that he can book the role so he can get through the scene so he can move on to the next one, rinse and repeat.
After the dusty, dry safari of Tanzania; we treated ourselves to a resort in Zanzibar. Upon arrival, we jumped into the bathwater-warm transparent waters by the hotel. The next day we woke up and the tide had pulled out over a mile, leaving where we had been swimming just 8 hours prior – walk-able. After getting our shoes, our guide showed us the sharp coral and thousands of spiky sea urchins lurking everywhere (but no uni on the restaurants menu – drats!), Polé, polé. In order to have our “marine safari”, our guide constantly reminded us “Polé, polé (Slowly, slowly)”. In slowing us down, we were able to see the starfish and sponges, squid and clownfish, clams and crabs swimming in the shallow tide pools at our feet. By taking our time, we had a “walking-snorkel” that I’ll never forget. We arrived at the same place, but had no injuries and another once-in-a-lifetime memory. The gift is in the journey.

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Categories:  Blog

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