Opinion Paper on Acting: Characterization

Misa Photography
For an acting class assignment, we have to write an opinion paper for each chapter of the book, Acting: The First Six Lessons by Richard Boleslawski. These are my thoughts after reading the chapter.

Acting: Characterization

“When a shoemaker has done his pair of boots, it is over, he forgets about them. When an artist finishes a piece of work, it is not done. It is just another step. All the steps dovetail one into the other.”

I once watched a documentary about a Japanese eldery pianist who held a sold out concert over a weekend. The audience and critics were impressed beyond their imagination. The interviewer asked the pianist what will he do next after his successful concert. He replied, “continue to practice.” He woke up on Monday, and went to his piano and did just that. It is true that as an artist there is no end to the journey of discovering our art.

After publishing three books, hitting three million views on YouTube and embarking on my journey to film a short film based on The Scarlet Queen YouTube, I still don’t see an end to my craft. In fact, after conclusion of the short film, I will start writing my next trilogy and continue to make more videos on YouTube. I had considered quitting and finishing up my artistic work like a shoemaker.  But everytime I quit, I find my life dull and drained of colours.

When I stop producing art, the clock ticks slowly and my world is in monochrome. My body wants to dance, my mind wants to tell stories and my soul wants to breathe. I cannot hold it back, for it only creeps into my dreams and haunts me in every waking moment, trailing me like a shadow. The taxi driver asks if I am an actress which I would hastily reply no, to avoid any intrusion to my privacy. My friends would ask if I had been dancing, and if they can watch me dance, and I will hide in a corner and avoid humans. I disintegrate, bit by bit, I would withdraw from the world. My dreams become nightmares, and shadows become monsters.

I would instead, fill my life with distractions by acquiring more wealth and material assets. Each day, I would sell a thread of my soul to the devil to make ends meet. I would slowly, but surely lose my zest and joy for life. My happiness, into aggression. My hopes, into vile destructive thoughts. My nature, would become corrupt and selfish. Till, I am one of the many walking hollow shells climbing the corporate ladder at the expense of everything else.

I will eventually forget about the work I had created and they will no longer have life. They are dead, like shoes. Once used, will be thrown out. But art? It is immortal, to be enjoyed, appreciated, to be awed at, to give peace and joy to the viewers that could last for an eternity after my years have ended on earth. That is why I create, and chose to dedicate my life to my artistry. This is a concious choice I had made four years ago to become a professional artist. Since then, I have received countless of fan mails and recognition for my work that is beyond my own belief.

“That before you put on your dress and make up, you must master your characterization.”

It is true that characterisation work requires observation and study from different sources. When I created Risque, she was a mystery figure that lurked in the darkest recesses of my mind. I would watch her enact these crazy stuff on others that I would never ever, ever, beyond my wildest drunken state, would ever do. What she does on YouTube still continues to astound me. I would ask myself, “is that me?”

At first I rejected her, and think she was this suppressed side of my personality that I would eradicate. I would never let anyone see it. I should lock her up in a place so no one would ever know she resided in me. Then slowly, I started to accept her. That she was brilliant. She was crazy, domineering and alpha. That she probably is what every woman wants to be, but never have the guts to be for the fear of societial judgemental eyes.

Upon more studies, I realised Risque is the counter mask to my usual persona that I have. Which by default, I am a naturally happy and cheerful person who is rather simple. A good cup of coffee makes my day. A little dancing here and there makes me upbeat about life. A walk through nature and reservoirs restores the peace and tranquility in my heart. Where else, for Risque, she is rather complicated. She has messed up desires, that require minions. She is not easily satisfied, but extremely confident. She has this aura about her that makes her presence known when she enters the room.

It has been five years since I created Risque, and five years on, I am still learning new things about her.

I think that every one of us have a mask and counter mask that we portay and enact in our daily lives, and my artistic experimentation on my dual roles is barely scratching the surface of human psychology.

“The actor creates the whole length of a human souls life on the stage every time he creates a part.”

When I am on set, I am much more focused than I am off set. This level of concentration is for the duration of the take, it could last two to four hours per session. In fact, for a whole week after coming back from a holiday trip I had gastric pain, but I ignored my bodily state and focused on completing my work to the extent that I saw the doctor after seven days. The doctor was appalled, and asked why did I take so long to see her, I should have seek for medical treatment within two days of suffering from this ailment.

I lost track of time I believe. That in the pursuit and intense focus of my work, I ignored everything else including my own physical discomfort. I think that a level of professionalism of an artist is required to bring their focus onto stage to create a part, which is the “whole length of a human souls life” in that brief moment.

“The most powerful weapon of an author is his mind. The quality of it, the speed, alertness, depth, brilliancy…. all you have to do is to grasp the characterization of the author’s mind and follow it as an actor.”

When I acted in plays in the past, I couldn’t grasp this part on capturing the author’s mind and following it as an actor. I had my own directions, own compass to follow. I subseqently decided for myself that casting is not for me, I am more suited to be a producer or screenwriter more so than an actor. The only exemption would be if I write my own script, I can follow my own mind.

I have to admit I am a bad follow, even in partner dancing, I tend to outshine my lead. I have my own sequences when it comes to dance cherography, and it may not sync with the person who is dancing with me. Similarly, in a production, I am unable to comprehend why the author made certain choices, and I think I could do better. This conflict within me turned me away from theater for many years, before I came to my own self conclusion that I have to produce the play that I want to act in. That, resolved my conflict and I started my own production, The Scarlet Queen as a direct result of this.

By acting in my own script, I could control and understand my characters in ways that an external author could never comprehend. My characters can grow in organic ways, that is not limited or constrained by script. It is improvisation, taking in feedback, reacting to users comments, in front of a live audience, that is divided between two screens. I believe that my artistic work playing dual roles is a new artform in the making.

“The wise author does everything to make this part of creation in the theatre as harmonious as possible without ruining the idea and purpose of the play.”

Truly that’s why I chose to be an author, actress and producer. The new triple threat of today (https://www.backstage.com/advice-for-actors/backstage-experts/be-new-triple-threat-actorwriterproducer/).

 

Opinion Paper on Acting: Dramatic Action

For an acting class assignment, we have to write an opinion paper for each chapter of the book, Acting: The First Six Lessons by Richard Boleslawski. These are my thoughts after reading the chapter.

Acting: Dramatic Action

“And yet a few actors achieve quite a high degree of dramatic art.”

For that few seconds of immortality on stage, is it worth thousands of hours and dedication to the never ending pursuit of the craft?

Yes.

As much as we seek for transcendence, the answer to transcendence may lie within ourselves more so than trying to please the audience or critics. It is a lifelong dedication to understanding oneself, and to enact that beauty on stage for that fleeting moment. Like a flower that comes to bloom, it lasts for that few moments before the seasons change. But that tiny glimpse of transcendence is akin to touching the face of God – to be one with the divine.

“The only real rules in art are the rules we discover for ourselves.”

A “perfect system” requires outliers. As it is in the matrix when the artificial intelligence (AI) created the perfect system, the society destructed. The moment they allowed for outliers to exist, the society rebalanced itself.

As it is right now the foreseeable threat to my existence is artificial intelligence. Now AI can author books, beat top chess players in the world and soon, they will drive our cars. The moment they make humans redundant it would be the end to us.

Unless humans can figure out a way to store our consciousness in transhuman android bodies, so that our consciousness live forever in different replaceable bodies, it is very likely AI will control humans like a hive mind IF we are not careful.

To make my consciousness immortal, I have been writing as much books and articles as possible on the cloud aka the internet, releasing videos, and imparting my cultural legacy before the end of my physical self.

Eventually I have to merge my consciousness with the cloud and publish my magnum opus, The Scarlet Throne trilogy and short film before my time on earth is an end.

My artistic works will belong to the AI once it is uploaded on the cloud/internet.

I am afraid of self learning AI (deep think) technology and how it impacts the creation of artistic content. If machines could create art, what would happen to our human cultural legacy? I did not predict that they will outdo humans so soon.

I foresee with almost 100% certainty that it’s either we fuse and merge with artificial intelligence or…. there is no other alternative.

The new legacy is no longer in acquiring physical objects but in a shared human consciousness.

 

Opinion Paper on Acting: Memory of Emotion

For an acting class assignment, we have to write an opinion paper for each chapter of the book, Acting: The First Six Lessons by Richard Boleslawski. These are my thoughts after reading the chapter.

Acting: Memory of Emotion

“You did it consciously and unconsciously… The only person who can dream is the person who can stand with both feet firmly on the earth.”

I believe great actors use imaginary emotional memory in powerful scenes that sends shivers through the audience. It could be for a few seconds, or a moment. But at that moment, there is a silence of suspense, imaginary suspense that the audience was now inside the actor’s world and mind. He had succeeded in casting a veil of disbelief that the audience thinks what is happening on stage is real life.

As much as an actor can aesthetically look good on stage by having a well-tuned instrument or magazine cover supermodel body, it’s another skill to be able to move the audience through his repertoire of emotions. That emotional scale of affective memories are the notes to playing his instrument. It can be honed and refined to accuracy by constant practice.

I am quite guilty of not being able to perfect this part of my skill set as an actress, as my emotional memory tends to overwhelm me and take control of my instrument. I did not have precision, and my emotional memories were out of whack. I would get stuck in character, and it is hard to get “out” of the zone. After some coaching, I realised all I had to do to get out of character was to watch comedy and I will be okay again.

For me to get into the zone of my emotional memory, it takes time, and it is not instantaneous as some great actors could do with the snap of their fingers. In fact, out of all skill sets of an actor, this is the most difficult to master as it requires constant practice, dedication, and effective recall through an organised series of emotional “cabinets” that an actor can pull in and out when the scene requires it.

‘Your actual work is done in solitude – entirely inside of yourself”

Other than writing, I believe acting is one of the most solitary occupations in the world. It requires long hours of internal work to look within oneself for answers and to “master thyself”. In fact, it’s almost like being holed up in a cave like a zen monk looking for the answers to life. The actor has to reexperience and recall not only happy moments, but difficult, distressful moments of life to be able to re-enact their experiences onto stage.

For all the suffering it brings to my soul, acting on stage was one of those few moments in my life that I felt truly alive. For all that I had given up on in life to pursue my art, acting has brought me one of the most gratification, not just for myself but for my audience. My creations will live on forever on cyberspace, my videos will be watched by millions of people, and my works will continue to impact generations to come when I am long gone.

This knowledge gives me strength to carry on pursuing my craft in my moments of darkness. It wakes me up every morning to appreciate the beauty and joys of life. I am filled with wonderment of the spectrum of human emotions, dramatic works and stories from long ago. I am bewildered by what I could create and I only wish that I could live on forever so my journey to seek mastery in my craft will never end.

Sensory Memory Notes

Dancer Sensory memory is the underlying element of method acting. During classes, our coach told us to tap into our past memories to bring out a certain emotion into the monologue. It has to be hidden, and not revealed to the audience. The audience cannot know which memory we are tapping on to bring out the characterisation and emotional undercurrent and inner fire to the performance. It is a underlying inner life that is unique to the actor. Hence two actors when given the same script, will enact the scene entirely different from each other based on their sensory memory that they bring forth to the performance.

A question was posed – how does a child actor tap into his sensory memory when he has not experienced life in it’s entirely? It boils down to authenticity. In method acting, the general rule is not to tap into any sensory memory that happened the past seven years. It is no wonder most actors hit their prime towards their thirites – leveraging on their sensory memory that they had gained over the course of years.

I had made the mistake of tapping into recent memories when I started out my YouTube channel and it seriously messed me up. Now, I no longer tap on recent memories, but the allowance is that we are allowed to tap into recent body sensations (pain, cold, pleasure, hot). When I write my books, I use the same technique in writing. I will repeat the motion of my characters while writing. Eg: Picking up a fork. I will imagine picking up a fork to cut a fish. If my character has to do a vigous workout and then start a dialogue. I will do the same, do a walkabout and a workout and go back to writing the dialogue to get the sense of how a person speaks after a workout. If I am unable to act out a scene, I will watch videos of actors enacting similar scenes or tap into my sensory memory. I would say Purple Python is the best book I had written as I had only learnt to apply the techniques I learnt over the past few years and crystalise it into a complete narrative.

I am glad to have been given a rich chaotic teenage life that I can tap on to write my works and enact my rebellion. I am no longer that crazy, or full of madness as I once was. I would say I had reached a pretty zen stage of my life where my number one priorty is my family followed by my friends. They ground me and stablise my random bursts of creative energy. Without them, I would lose my balance. They help me find myself, and regain the missing parts of my identity to form a complete whole me by just accepting the way I am. I was never able to dance the way I do before – only this year I had finally unleashed my inner soul song to be the passionate dancer that fires the dance floor.

Yesterday someone called me a “beast on the dance floor.” I was being filmed dancing. I am getting filmed regularly by dance patrons, as they watch me across the floor. To admit, I had never receive this level of “dance” attention since actively competing when I was a teenager. Only now, I had rediscovered my inner fire and happiness in dance. That I dance not to applease others, or be someone else that I am not. But to dance is to be myself, and dance for my own self actualisation, and the greatest enemy is myself. There is no one else who can stop me from being the dancer that I am. For this, I am able to be completely at ease even when dancing in front of thousands of people, it’s a completely natural act to me. The nervousness disappates and I am at one with the universe while on stage.

A Performer in Theater Arts

18156170_10156061021902195_8029908303624107521_oThe very first role I got as a lead actress was when I was 14 years old in a school play production. It was a grueling intensive that I spent my summer holidays reciting lines and doing exercises in front of large groups of people. The coach would reprimand me on the spot in front of others, “if you forget your lines, we will replace you,” was the echo of his words that haunted me in my sleep. We dedicated hundreds of hours to perform at Victoria Theater. I was finally on stage in a lead role at a young age. The school play was advertised in the news as the theater could seat a few hundred people.

My mother watched the performance. This time, she was the audience and I was on stage. She was usually on that very stage I was on, performing her classical piano pieces, leading a choir and being a prominent musician in the scene. This sudden reversal that my mother was now at the audience supporting me was a revelation that I am all grown up. I had taken my baby steps on stage by giving flowers to musicians after they played their piano pieces. The musicians gave me a hug and carried me off the stage mostly, as I barely crawling and half walking. The audience clapped for the musicians and my mother. I was a tiny little flower girl walking next to their knees. I enjoyed the shared attention they got and relished in it.

When the play I acted in ended, the audience stood up to give a round of applause. This time it wasn’t for any musician, it was for me and my troupe. It was deeply satisfying I was now performance ready. I lost my stage performer virginity that night. My mother drove me home. She commented my make up was thick, and that I could make improvements to my hair. Nevertheless, she was beaming in happiness. She shared with her friends, “Oh, my daughter was the lead actress at Victoria theater. She is a dancer too, and appeared on television.” None of her friends could believe my mother, looking like she was barely in her 30s had a daughter, let alone a daughter who was established in the arts scene, like herself.

Fame came too quick and I was too young to handle the attention. I was mostly stalked in public to the point I had no more privacy in my life. Everywhere I went, unwanted attention from my fame followed me like a shadow. I got bullied in school for being an actress and dancer. I acted on some side roles on television, and after the shows were aired, my schoolmates would make fun of me and call me nasty names and whisper behind my back with suspicion, “Oh that girl is an actress, she was on telelvision.” They distrusted me for being a public figure and I sat mostly alone during recess time and no one wanted to be my friend. I fell into a deep depression and was sent to the school consellor, who initiated a transfer for me out of that school.

After transfering to another school, I excelled in humanities and developed an introverted personality whereby I spent inordinate amount of hours dedicating myself to writing essays and reading books after books. To the point my teachers would read my essays out aloud in class and set them as example essays to follow. Although I no longer appeared on stage or danced, the attention now shifted to my writings. I registered averral.com in the year 2007 and this blog is now live for ten years.

My writings were mostly filled with sadness, despair and I channeled most of my energies into and poured my heart into my words for I could no longer dance or act and be accepted for who I was. I avoided attention, the stage and the public. I am now making a dramatic return to performing live on facebook to overcome my fears and to conquer my past – which continues to attack my mind. I will eventually move into the direction in performing live in front of large audiences, and finally embracing who I really am – a performer in theater arts.

 

 

Write a Monologue about a Painting as AVERRAL

Objective: To get the individual to get in touch with themselves through the use of a painting.

Coach: There is no AVERRAL in your previous assignment, you have impersonfied Venus, but there is no you. We want to see AVERRAL coming out from the paining you chose. You have to do this assignment again.

AVERRAL: It is true, I don’t know myself. Hence, in my works there is no me. I disappeared myself completely. It is indeed my biggest flaw that I don’t bring myself out in my characters, in my works or anything. I take on the personality of another but there is no me in it.

Coach: We want to see you AVERRAL. Bring it out, use your natural voice and your story through the use of a painting.

….

Once upon a time, I was a little girl running on the beach towards the sunshine, leaping and jumping in joy while my parents were holding hands behind me. For the first time in my life, I tasted happiness in freedom in nature. Ever since then, I found refuge near water. When I am down or upset, I would be drawn to nature, the sun, the sea and the waves of the ocean.

When I was eigtheen years old, I gave tuition for pocket money. Outside the window of my student condo complex, I dream about how nice it would be if I started a business so I could travel and explore the world. When I graduated from unversity, I had my own business. But I was trapped. I had no life, except to work from day to night almost everyday my phone rang non stop and I replied to thousands of emails.

Inside me, my soul was dying. My soul was dying from the lack of dance. The lack of music. The lack of leisure. I was lacking the song and dance in my life as I pursued logic and reason throughout my university years. I was killing my soul song, killing my dance. I was smothering the flames of my passion for life by focusing on the digits and numbers of reports and maximising returns. I was headed towards the death of my soul as I delved in deeper into my endless materialistic needs for more shopping, more travel and more luxuries.

In losing myself to the material world, I ran to the far ends of the earth and travelled a few thousand miles but I found no answers to happiness. I wondered, what was happiness? Why don’t I feel happy? Why, why do I feel so numb inside? In my sadness, I sang a sorrowful song. I did a dance and leaped into the ocean, fully nude. In the ocean, I was finally free. I was embracing myself and feeling my body for the first time. That I had flesh and bones. I had eyes and a nose. I had ears and… I had emotions. I can feel my emotions once more as I twirled in the ocean depths. My soul returned to my body, and I finally am connected to the first state of my experience of pure bliss – happiness and freedom in exploration – of my soul song.

Venus

I emerged from the ocean depths as the Goddess of Love and Beauty. I am here to bring forth eternal sunshine to mankind. The world will worship me at my feet. Humanity will never know what is love, till they have met me. They will never know what is beauty, till they experienced love. For this, I dedicate the remaining years of my life to my artistry and community to spread love and beauty far and wide.

 

 

I am Self Absorbed

I was narcissistic, self absorbed and I spent long hours looking at myself in the mirror dancing and touching my body while imagining it is someone else’s hands doing so. I was exhibitionistic and had a few million views on YouTube. I took photos of myself everyday with precise selfie angles. I loved showing off my dance moves and displaying myself publicly uninhibitedly in a way that is empowering to the world who watch the way I move. However I had transcended my artistry from serving my need for validation to the disappearance of my ego by being the mirror of what the world has created me to be. I had chosen to pursue happiness by disappearing my ego into the universe, to find myself in the eyes of others. From the eyes of the universe, I see myself dancing in the cosmos – that is true happiness and bliss – my soul lives forever in the cyber galaxy.

Dark Soul of The Night 

Too famous, too young

Hated myself in the mirror

Became socially awkward

Almost mute, dysfunctional

Was used as a replacement

“Toy” was my name

Objectification

Destroyed my free spirit

I ran too fast, too far

Till I lost myself in the desert

Plunged into an oasis

I saw shadows of the demons

In my nightmares that haunted me

daily, I wasn’t dead but half asleep

How I wished a knight would save me

From the monsters chewing on my flesh

In my half conscious state, I summoned

the last remaining will to untie the rock

on my ankle that was sinking me down into

the abyss. No one could save me but myself.

I swam up to shore and rose up as the goddess of love,

Venus, to humanity – to fill the world with love and beauty in my song and dance.

In my rebirth, I had chosen dedicate my life to art and serving the community

like a Vestal Virgin tending to the sacred flame in the temple.

This is my ultimate expression of love for the world.

Write a Monologue about a Painting

Objective: To get the individual to get in touch with themselves through the use of a painting.

Venus

The Birth of Venus – Sandro Botticelli (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Birth_of_Venus)

I am Venus, I am born in the ocean, rising out as a goddess of love to all mankind

I am fully nude in the waves of the sea, there is nothing to be ashamed of as we are born and die fully naked

The long waves of my golden hair wraps around my body, it’s a gift from the sun to wrap the world in eternal radiance

Don’t be afraid of love, men, welcome it with open arms and take my body into your strong arms

Let your arms wrap my body, feel my white flesh on your skin.

I am here to liberate you, to welcome to you paradise

You had never known paradise till you met me.

You will experience freedom and a state of bliss, unknown to most as long you surrender your will to me.

In this euphoria, the estacasy that unfolds is far greater than any song or dance can bring to you.

Why be afraid of love, when you can have love?

Why be afraid of women, when you can have beauty?

For without beauty, what is the purpose of life?

I seek to beautify the world around me in glorious light.

Welcome to eternal heaven, for I am the goddess of your one and only heart desires.

You will find home when you give your soul to worship me.