Emotion on Stage
What is an actor if she cannot relay to the audience the depth of her character? Convincing an audience that the character truly feels and responds comes from the art of being in touch with one's own feelings and senses. In her book Respect for Acting, Uta Hagen perfectly illustrates the importance and mechanics of keeping in touch with your senses to better live in the mind of your character.
In the chapter 3 "Substitution," I learned that it is important to flesh out my character after I have found my identity. If I cannot directly relate to my character, I must find substitutions to fully become the character I portray. I learned that if I havedifficulty finding a substitution for my act it is because I am trying to be too literal. This is often a tendency of mine. I have to remember all the emotions I as the character feel at that moment. I can say, "I want you to leave," but while that is true, deep down inside I want that person to stay. I have to realize the total motive of my character, which will produce the reaction I must have.
In chapter 4, "Emotional Memory," Hagen describes the response to my substitution as finding the "emotional recall."Finding the right sensation that I want produced means that I have discovered the correct substitution. Ignoring all my substitution will rob me of the emotions I must feel and deliver as the character. I can use the "it's as if…" method that The Handbook describes. I have to find the substitutions that stir me, the ones that will draw a reaction from me.
"Sense Memory" in chapter 5, explains the physical responses that I have while I am in character. The body does not lie and my non-verbal messages through action will tell whether or not I am truly in full character. I must fully understand the task at hand as the character in order for my physical actions to take part in the moment…