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© Jeffrey Marcus, 2015 | Site implemented by HEAVE
12th of July

Self Protection

I was recently pointed in the direction of a wonderful resource for actors called “Hollywood Happy Hour” by my lovely friend, world-class casting director Marci Liroff . While there, I saw the following question by a generous actor, Devai Pearce, who has so kindly given me permission to print our exchange. I have edited out a few extraneous paragraphs. This is the fourth or fifth time I’m been asked how to deal with this issue. I always get this question from actors who aren’t studying with me. Perhaps they might want to reconsider…..
Devai wrote:
Hi comrades,
I am working on an intense scene that involves sadness ( serious grief ) and anger, and some times after I do the scene, I end up with a migraine headache, due to the intensity of the emotion. In feeling this scene fully, a headache is often the result. Any thoughts on this? How to remedy it? I tried various forms of meditation afterward to no avail– well, it did help me cope with the pain, changing my attitude toward it, but ultimately the pain triggered by the scene sometimes remains, and even gets stronger. Any thoughts? Anyone lift weights to counter the aftermath of an emotionally rigorous scene?
I welcome your thoughts.

I responded:
Dear Devai,
I understand your question. In fact, I suffered a similar headache trying to figure out how to respond to your question. I have two very simple, yet profound suggestions for you to consider. In order to clear whatever emotions that the circumstances of the character or the material bring up on:
a )the physical plane – make sure that you make a ritual of putting on and taking off the characters clothing (especially their shoes). NEVER wear the same clothing that your character wears. Also washing your hands and drinking some water afterwords proves to be very helpful.
b )the Spiritual plane – Say a prayer, affirmation, whatever you like to call it before entering the emotional state. Remember, we as actors are entering a form of trance or self-hypnosis. Not only does hypnosis benefit us thesps, but is also useful in many other areas which are in dire need of advanced hypnosis training, making it an almost drastic measure. If you set the intention prior, along the lines of “Spirit, I am about to enter into some dark and painful territory. I ask that you protect me as I use my body, mind and senses to embark on this journey in order to heal myself and anyone who may witness my work. Please protect me and return me to radiant health and well being upon completion of______. Allow only that which is for my highest good to remain.” Or just surround yourself with White Light before working.
I have found both of these techniques to be very helpful for my students and myself.

On a personal note, I find that pain usually comes from resistance and holding back. I urge you to really let fly with whatever comes up IN THE SCENE – so there is nothing residual at the end.

Please feel free to visit my website at
Jeffrey Marcus

Two days later, I got this….
Thank you all! I rehearsed the scene today (as a mother of a recently deceased son) sans headache! Woo hoo! I will re-read all of your fine suggestions too, just to see if there’s something I missed! You guys are the best!!!

Told you so….

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6th of July

Happy July 4th

At this time of Independence Day, I was thinking how, at one time – we were taught that being independent was the way to go. It is not strong and courageous to need, or rely on, anyone. I wonder that if a belief held firmly over 200 years ago, still speaks to us as strongly as it once did?
Actors know that it is all about being interdependent. We depend on our authors (scripts), our directors, our fellow actors, our imaginations, etc. Being a rogue actor doesn’t really get you anywhere. Even Lily Tomlin has her Jane Wagner, her theater owners and sound engineers, etc.
Perhaps actors are pointing society to where it’s going by reminding society that we all need each other. Now more than ever. When companies go for making profits independently of what is good for mankind – we get catastrophic oil spills destroying our oceans.
I did think of one way we actors are independent. It is important that we remain independent from stress, limiting beliefs and misunderstandings of our own power. As Stanislavsky said “At times of great stress, it is especially necessary to achieve a complete freeing of all the muscles”. Why? Because, he also said “The language of the body is the key that can unlock the soul.”

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