Getting in Character… July 20th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2639)

Give Peace a Chance

 

From Act II, Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

Finding peace is rarely peaceful. It begins by admitting we are not satisfied. The position we find ourselves in is no longer acceptable. We may be afraid of change, but we are more frightened of the status quo.

Yet we have delayed. The reason is obvious: making peace is personal.

No one will become peaceful if they think we are still looking for a fight. Why do we fight? We don’t believe we have enough love, talent, passion, commitment, intelligence, and time.

Inner peace is a blending of our confidence with good cheer–confidence that we can accomplish excellent things, and good cheer because we know that failing butters our daily bread.

“All we are saying is give peace a chance”–a chance to teach us, warm us, enlighten us,humble us, uplift us, expand us, and mostly … simplify us.

For after all, less is more or less where we all begin.

All thing work together to the good for those who love…

  • the Lord
  • life
  • honesty

… and conflict which ends in contentment.

God’s children make peace.

Peace starts within.

Within is when I’m no longer ashamed.

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Getting in Character…July 13th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2632)

heart

From Act II, Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

“Not believable.”

It is the two-word epitaph for every actor’s performance which seems dead-on-arrival. It is pronounced by critic and audience alike when the scene set before them lacks sincerity, legitimacy and heart.

Sometimes it is caused by the script being underplayed; often it’s a result of overacting. But somewhere along the line, the actor has failed to take the words that he or she has committed to memory and equally commit them to heart.

  • The emotion is phony.
  • The emotion is lacking.
  • The emotion is pre-determined and therefore sits on the shelf too long, arriving stale.

There is a certain amount of emotional purity necessary to convey who we are to the world around us. When this is lacking, the jungle sense inside every mortal comes to the forefront, screaming “this is not real.”

So since the world is a stage and we are actors, what can we do to guarantee that our contribution is believable? Because long before we are valuable, we need to establish that we are as we say we are.

To gain this pure heart, you must:

1. Be the first person around you who is not afraid of sharing your feelings.

You can be selective. You can release it slowly–just as long as you’re forthcoming and not being “caught”–trapped in a web of lies.

2. Realize that your feelings are inescapable, yet they only gain the possibility of change when shared well.

No one is suggesting that there has to be an outpouring from the heart of every single sensation that happens from moment to moment, but when a reality exists, to deny it, mask it or reject it is to set yourself up for being exposed instead of controlling the update on your own situation.

3. Know that people can trust you because they are fully aware that you’re willing to be honest.

Without this kind of emotional purity, human beings spiral down. They end up in the basement of consideration, relegated to a position of worthlessness because they were unable to deliver what they advertised themselves to be.

Fear makes us doubt.

Doubt makes us defensive.

Defensiveness turns us into liars.

And all liars end up looking like fools.

 

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Getting in Character … July 6th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2625)

Gymnast with coach

From Act II, Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

There are those who feel they tap an insightful genius by using laborious dialogue and depravity to accentuate what they have determined to be reality. Yes, indeed–every actor is tempted to pick up a paycheck by participating in a piece of manipulated negativity.

Yet you must remember–the world evaluates what you want by what you give.

Art can journey through the tunnel but is required to find the light, thus generating the mercy we give to humanity through creativity instead of adding gloom to the doom.

Never forget, there are only three things that human beings require: mercy, opportunity and honesty.

Take any of these away and we starve in agony.

But in each case, we cannot continue to acquire our “food for heart” without first obviously providing it to those around us.

  • Therefore to obtain mercy, you must grant mercy–from your forgiveness through your performance.
  • Opportunity is granted to those who are already providing such a benefit to others.
  • And honesty is the air we breathe, which keeps us from choking to death.

If you’re going to get in character, you must understand that the review left behind for your stage appearance will not only be collected on your professional resume … but will become the heritage of your legacy.

 

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Getting in Character … June 29th, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2618)

Eating contest

From Act II: Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

It’s a common mistake.

Often in an attempt to seemingly simplify a job, we end up breaking it down into its external parts, while completely abandoning the passion that really makes it work.

The same is true for the actor.

When he or she first begins to view the world as a stage, many think the completion of the adventure settles in on three steps:

  1. Memorize your lines.
  2. Discover your entrance and exit.
  3. Learn where to stand.

The truth of the matter is, these three are merely the beginning, which often is abandoned to produce an adequate end.

That’s right. Memorizing your lines is not special, so it’s essential that once you retain them you forget that you ever had lines in the first place, but instead, realize that you are producing natural reactions to the unfolding plot.

As far as discovering an entrance and an exit, you will have to understand that this will expand as you gain further insight into the nature of the role you play in any given situation. It may require you to threaten an exit or instigate a surprise entrance.

And knowing where to stand makes you a fixture instead of part of the flow. Life rarely lets you perch, but instead, demands you keep moving in the right direction.

The missing ingredient for young thespians who are trying to get in character is, and always will be, passion. We’ve equated the word “passion” with romance, or sexuality, when actually it is the fuel of all human emotions, and propels us towards excitement.

So once you memorize your lines, discover your entrance or exit and learn where to stand, then the next thing you can do is forget it and set it to the side.

Instead, a hunger and a thirst must enter your soul for new commands:

1. Get hungry for your character.

  • Do I have limitations?
  • Is there a secret my character holds that needs to be revealed or healed?

2. Get thirsty to discover the elasticity of your character.

  • Limitations are always self-imposed. Lift them.

3. Keep looking for new angles.

  • Your character will never look stupid if he or she is willing to realize that everything written in stone crumbles.
  • There is much to learn, therefore there is much to seek.

If you lose your passion, you lose your character–so it’s more than memorizing lines, discovering your entrance and exit and learning where to stand.

Getting in character is walking away from the hard, fast rules … to find one’s true worth and ever-expanding mission.

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Getting in Character…June 22nd, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2611)

Chalk art 2

From Act II: Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

Let the scene speak for itself.

The problem in the world of theater is that we often spend too much time on costuming, scenery and promotion.

If the quality is not present in the writing and the characterization, it will soon become evident that we’re just trying to tie a ribbon on a mutt.

Such is life.

Yet if you are determined to get in character you have to decide what you’re going to pursue.

Is it excellence or is it merely acceptance you’re seeking?

Excellence is finding what you want to communicate and then practicing it until you’re completely satisfied with your take.

Acceptance, on the other hand, is hoping to be received well without actually doing well.

In a generation which screams for “unconditional love,” we end up with a phony representation of the sentiment without the transforming power of the true emotion.

Excellence is a quiet determination. Acceptance tends to sport some arrogance: 

  1. Accept me.
  2. I’m fine.
  3. What’s your problem?
  4. People are stupid and don’t get it.

Excellence stands and faces the world without fear proclaiming, “I am satisfied and overjoyed with my profile. Come and see.”

Acceptance, on the other hand, is only fulfilled when praised.

There’s a gentle meekness in the pursuit of excellence which allows the scene to play out while we faithfully insert our portion, inheriting the stage.

And souls who pursue excellence end up getting what they want because the work itself is the blessing instead of a flaccid universal acceptance.

 

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Getting in Character … June 15th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2613)

cryingFrom Act II: Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage,” and all the men and women, “merely players.”

Scribbled in the margin of the script was a note from the director: “This scene requires real tears.”

The actor stared at the instruction and was immediately struck by two words: “requires” and “real.”

In other words, this was a non-negotiable situation. It was required.

The director had already decided that based upon the construction of the scene and the characters involved, that the emotion would demand some weeping.

Then there was the word “real.”

For after all, nothing is more displeasing to an audience than someone sprouting crocodile tears which obviously are being dribbled by force.

So what to do? How does one tap the real heart of the matter, and find the deep-down growlings that generate the kind of energy that fosters tears?

The actor thought for a long time and finally came to a conclusion.

Tears are the release of our fears.

Our apprehensions lie within us, trying to hide in corners and disguise themselves as temporary apparitions until we finally break down and admit that we’re scared to death, and allow the tears to flow freely.

Matter of fact, it’s impossible to get in character without tapping the sadness of your role. Every human has fears. Masking them turns us into chilly lumps of flesh or causes us to concede that belief is a joke and never really offers any lasting solution.

After all, most people do not become atheists because they don’t believe there’s a God. They become atheists because they hurt and don’t believe that God gives a damn.

Without tears our fears remain.

And when our fears remain, we are defensive to the world around us rather than optimistic about the possibility of relationship.

We all need comfort. But there’s no comfort given to us unless we mourn.

How would anyone know? Are they supposed to read our minds? Should they anticipate that merely because we wear human flesh, there’s some devastation within?

Without the comfort, the fears remain, taunting our talent and making us believe that our ability is never enough. But when real tears are required and we feel the freedom to weep … we are suddenly afforded the healing of comfort.

 

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Getting in Character … June 8th, 2015

 

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2606)

Exhausted runner

From Act II: Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage,” and all the men and women, “merely players.”

With that in mind, may we revel in the opportunity and responsibility of getting in character.

  • I am bad.
  • I am good.

These seem to be the two profiles offered to us in the pursuit of life’s mystery and goals.

One school of thought is that human beings are basically flawed, and therefore our actions are suspect.

The other offering is that we’re all good, and the more confidence and self-esteem we can acquire determines our level of prosperity.

Yet even as I write this down in this essay, I realize that most of us are fully cognizant that we are not predominately bad, nor are we over-run by goodness.

But as long as these two philosophies are propagated, we will fail to pursue the avenues which would lead us to a deeper sense of self-understanding and the pursuit of personal excellence.

The truth of the matter is, I am not good, nor am I bad. To find my true character and develop it in this great, life-long stage play, I need to arrive at a different position:

I am aware.

  1. I am aware of what constitutes a good performance.
  2. I am aware of what keeps me from measuring up to that standard.
  3. I am aware that honesty is the only way to save me both time and humiliation.
  4. I am aware that the only way I can improve my status is by dealing with my “can’ts” and gradually, through trial and error, turning them into “cans.”

As long as I believe I’m bad, or insist that I’m good, I will remove the potential to be aware.

It is my responsibility to understand that I will not be evaluated or critiqued on my goodness or my badness, but rather, my awareness.

 

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