Recently, I heard a cry: “I don’t know how to prepare!” I was stunned. In our program at the Susan Batson Studio, there is scheduled five times a week a class designed to help the actor learn how to prepare. I looked into the young faces overwhelmed by the difficulty of their art form. I quickly informed them of the last step of my preparation, which was to sit on the toilet having made the creative choice of how the character urinates and defecates. My acting mentor Herbert Berghof told me it was a must for an actor to know this detail. Ah Brave New World, the future of the art smiled, but they certainly did not embrace this information with the passion and profundity that I did when I listened to Herbert Berghof. I questioned if I could inspire a young actor of 2014?
It was important to stress that no two actors prepared in the same way. It takes self-discovery to develop a basic actor’s preparation. This self-discovery should be a way of life for the actor for the rest of the actor’s life. Stanislavsky termed it the “Daily Actor’s Toilette.” In order to master the art form of acting, the young actor must develop a relationship with their personal internal world. This relationship can only be achieved through the “Daily Actor’s Toilette.” Since the search for the character starts from within the actor, there is a need to stress how important self-discovery is. Further, it should be noted that every character we find within us must be transformed completely into the character of the text. This transformation causes the actor’s basic preparation to take on new elements to assist transformation into character.
Our responsibility to the humanity we play is crucial. We must create a walking, talking human being– one that lives on the screen and/or stage. Our job requires skill. You must not only be in daily self-discovery, but also the actor must learn the techniques of acting and develop their own method. Without a process you cannot be a master of your craft. You will not create an organic life for your character.
So, Ah Brave New World, perhaps a Stanislavsky is amongst you! You are certainly the future of our art form. How do you prepare? Do your “Daily Actor’s Toilette”. Develop your own method. Commit to finding the character in you and transforming that character to a walking talking human being on the stage and/or screen. Dig into your own creative resources for inspiration to further serve your actor. Finally, it is my belief that you will create your own preparation for each character, because you have committed to the powerful responsibility to the humanity you are creating.