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Getting The Most Out Of Your Imagination Part II

March 4, 2015

Why, so frequently, is the modern young actor seemingly at a loss to swiftly and accurately perceive the depth and dimensions of the emotional components of a scene? When, for all we had were wooden swords, tents made from blankets, spaceships fashioned from cardboard, ships masts of tree trunks, dolls and doll houses and tea sets and nurses with ribbon stethoscopes – we had to use our imaginations. Now, what is the imagination of the artist? It is the ability to conceive and express ‘what might be’.

To further extend the process for the actor: what could be, what would be, what will be, what may be, what might have been, what would have been, what could have been, what will have been, what may have been. And within each of these is the exact emotional component that comes when the subconscious mind is engaged in a creditable and plausibly imagined scenario.

As we have seen, the subconscious mind believes as REAL and TRUE anything emotionally or repeatedly impressed upon it. In the pretending world of a life where one HAD to project possibilities – for virtual reality was not there to ‘fill in the blanks’ – the imagination was improved, built upon, practiced, engaged, nourished and compelled into the fore front of the natural way of seeing things and of perceiving them – imagination was the principal process of engagement with reality! In other words, in the world of imagination one’s reality was processed through one’s imagination. In today’s virtual world, reality is processed through – well, virtual reality.

And example would be: in the World of Imagination an upcoming job promotion is processed very quickly through a bank of possibilities, resulting in the subject seeing a potential reality next to potential possibilities. In the World of Virtual Reality, a promotion in a job is processed very quickly through a presentation of realities, resulting in the subject seeing a potential reality next to other potential realities. Possibilities are more ‘possible’ to the subconscious mind than are realities. Reality is carved in stone. Reality cannot be a possibility, because it is already a reality. It’s the difference between looking down one road that may be very nice and certain, but ends in a lovely cul de sac; while the other may be less certain, but continues to engage the mind – and I would say spirit – in a search for the greatest potential outcome versus the greatest actual outcome.

The ARTIST – for our purposes, the actor – is dealing in a world of ideas, a world of possibilities – not in a world of certainties! Why? Because ‘certainty’ is not dramatic. Remember here, that we are all about what is dramatic.  So, even in the instances where certainty comes at the ‘end of the play’, it can not have been the journey of the play.

What I mean to say, is that over the years I have seen young actors wanting from a loss of a nourished and practiced imagination. For this is the imagination that can perceive the depths of the emotional intentions of the writing, the emotional potential of the acting, and the potential of the emotional engagement of the audience – who we so very much wish to draw into the story. It takes years of ‘imaginative training’ to be able to be very, very good at deeply, accurately and quickly sensing what something ‘would be like’. It cannot be gained in a suddenly concocted and arbitrary ‘history’ of ‘your character’. The subconscious mind simply doesn’t work like that. It needs repetition and emotion – practice! It might help to do all sorts of exercises and histories and all manner of research. But nothing can replace the seasoned imagination for a deep and abiding understanding of TRUTH. The nasty kid from down the block who hit me in the face with the rock he threw taught me nothing of truth – he merely informed me of reality.

So what can the young actor who has been trained and nourished in the virtual world, the world of instant gratification, information and realization do – to regain this value that only the well-cured imagination can provide?

She can play. He can play. He and she can do the unthinkable in this world of answers and robots and soon-to-be virtual vacations: they can go out on the hiking path and pretend to be an intrepid explorer. They can sit in front of a fan and pretend they are flying – in a plane or like a bird. They can stroll up a street that they ‘own’, or slink down one they are forbidden to trod. They can start a great debate, or a passionate love affair, or perform a daunting surgery in an operating arena. As you can see there is no limit – none – to what can be used as the wormhole for the subconscious mind to explore the universe of human experience.

And I am not talking about theater games. Theater games are fine! These group activities can point to the the kind of thing the actor must do to upgrade, reboot or install an imagination that will change the very nature and value of his or her work. But the actor must do the work on his or her OWN – in the privacy of his own room, silently and out loud, physically and emotionally. And if you look hard enough you will find the one place you most like to go – your secret door the scenario you most love to pretend exists and engage in.  And there your subconscious mind will tap into a vibration called The Truth, and it will permeate all things – especially one’s artistic offerings. Do it while walking, cooking, bathing, dressing, cleaning, gardening – anything – and use what you are really doing as the action, the physical platform and scenario of your imaginative improvisation.

Doing so will – over time – regain for you the World of Imagination, and provide the emotional content the young actor needs to reach the depths of understanding that make a speech, a line, a look – a single word –  the real deal, the deepest ‘real’, and one that is full to the brim of possibilities – for both you and the audience.

Think about it.

Wishing You the Very Best

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