ACTING ON IMPULSE – INTRODUCTION
Andy Garrison, acting coach at the Actor’s Training Studio in Kansas City, has taught extensively on acting. He knows acting and more importantly he knows how to learn acting. Here he gives us his insight with an introduction into “Acting on Impulse” or you can download the full document of Andy’s Interior Action – Acting on Impulse.
What do people really DO to each other? When you’re talking with someone, are you just talking? Are you just listening? Or is there something more going on?
Interior Action is an approach to acting intended to help actors identify and play their purest impulses, from which our social conditioning can often separate us. Lifetime habits of denying and suppressing impulses can actually put us out of touch with them altogether. As individuals living with others we may find denying our base impulses useful, even necessary. As actors, however, if we’re not accessing and allowing our own instinctive and unique behavior to come to the surface unhindered, un-judged and uncensored, we run the risk of stifling the very source of our own creativity.
At its most simple, Interior Action is a method for describing, in physical terms, what’s happening between characters on several levels – an intentional level, an emotional level and a physical level. Interior Action makes use of physically active verbs on a beat-by-beat basis to chart the interaction between characters. If you’ve ever felt like bad news felt like “a punch in the stomach” or an insult was a “slap in the face,” – or you’ve ever felt the warm caress of a sincere compliment or let a joke “tickle” you, you’ve had experience with Interior Action. Even without physical contact, the impact of the intention sent and received, is powerful and tangible.
The benefits of Interior Action to the actor can resonate throughout his or her work. Using this powerful approach, actors can:
- Bring a higher level of specificity to their work.
- Connect with their emotions more consistently and tangibly.
- Respond to their acting partners more actively.
- Bring more immediacy into their work.
- Bring a vibrant physicality to their work, regardless of whether the scene is actually active, physically.
- Analyze even complicated text in a more intuitive way.
- Know exactly what they’re doing in a scene, every step of the way, without “calculating” the results.
- Find and use their own uniqueness to their best advantage in their work.
- Develop and fine-tune their movement for performance.
Perhaps most importantly, the actor has a means by which he or she can actually, physically test a tactic, thus providing the actor, director or coach a tangible barometer for the specificity, power and connection of the actor’s intention – in language free of jargon. How often have you seen actors argue that they’re REALLY “going” for their objective, but what you see is limp and effortless? Interior Action keeps the actor honest.
Download the full Interior Action – Acting on Impulse
December, 2000 © C. Andrew Garrison