December 26, 2021
- By Kyle Secor
“This is no joke. This is the last instant of your life!! Hit the stage NAKED right now!!”
That was the surreal internal direction I apparently remember having had each night before being pushed onstage, bare-assed, for apparently 30+ performances of Shawshank Redemption in Edinburgh and Dublin in 2013.
No turning back. Drop your pants and step into the lights. But, what I didn’t realize is; the pants had dropped long ago.
That’s how it goes for the actor. It appears to be happening on a continuum — the actor can seemingly turn the nakedness on or off.
It’s a story, of course, and it can seem both real and unreal.
As actors, the bare minimum requirement is we expose ourselves to the world, so to speak. But, what we may miss, with all our ‘me’ considerations, interpretations and psychological misgivings — is that acting is immediate and already ‘on it,' or ‘naked,' so to speak.
It’s anarchistic. It doesn’t need an actor.
Acting IS already exposure, nakedness, pant’s not only dropped but non-existent, with no actual sense of continuum. Only apparent.
It is utter chaos. Without the illusory actor who is attempting to control, adjust, or let it fly — it’s total, marvelous chaos without any intention: neither to shock, impress, dismantle, or be something chaotically appropriate within a ‘script’.
It is uncontrollable, unmanageable, ineffable, and stunningly inappropriate.
No-thing as just what’s happening is always more than naked, or in control, as there is no actor or no me who can ever wrangle that, or who will ever know that.
An Unaware Actor. Not a term most actors would want applied to them. However... This is another way of saying there is no me. If there’s an actor, or a me, there will be an apparent sense of awareness. Of here-ness...
A young actor asked me about something they read online which encourages actors to cultivate awareness so they can sense when they are falling into old habits...
“When he talked about my part, I never understood a word he said. To this day…I suspect he was deliberately vague; he did it by keeping you off-balance…so you couldn’t protect yourself, so you couldn’t use the techniques you were used to using.” - Peter Falk on John Cassavetes