Have you ever been tasked with a physical activity on a stage or set—maybe you’re cooking breakfast or packing your apartment—and found it hard to continue to connect with the other character?
For a lot of actors their “business” in the scene screws them up, it feels like too much to juggle and suddenly they are speaking Robot and forget there’s even another person in the scene.
Good news: Every task or activity is actually an opportunity to affect your scene partner.
Everything you do in a scene, from folding laundry in a commercial to firing a gun in a Chekhov play, can be used to help you embody your action.
Do you use your tasks to help you affect your partner?
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If you’re doing an action like folding laundry, you have the opportunity to use the laundry as a way to affect your partner–one hundred percent for theater because there’s so much of that. But really, I’ve seen a lot of actors struggle on set trying to…cook breakfast, right? You’re cooking breakfast, and you’re trying to send your actions, and you’ve got eight hundred people around you, and you’re thinking about continuity…
How do you keep embodying your actions through the physical action and use that cooking of the eggs to affect your partner? Are you adoring them through your cooking of eggs? If you’re a widower and you’re packing the lunch of your six-year-old kid, how do you pack the lunch with care? This is some of the stuff that easily goes out the window when we’re juggling a lot of things, even though we know it intellectually.