Getting Out of Your Own Way

At RLT meetings, trainings, and hangs, the topic of authenticity in performance comes up quite often. Stemming from the study of Authentic Movement, developed originally by Mary Starks Whitehouse, Authenticity as we discuss it deals with fearlessness of being seen.

Recently I revisited Anne Bogart's essay "Embarrassment," which appears in her famed book "A Director Prepares: Seven Essays on Art and Theatre." In it she says that embarrassment is the greatest obstacle an actor must conquer in order to authentically connect with other humans. She describes performance as a great leap into a void, with no guarantees of success. Without the leap, though, the performance is tame and disconnected. My favorite quote from the essay, which I have written down on a scrap of paper in my room, is this: "The mind is always out to ambush the process. The discoveries and breakthroughs happen when you successfully manage to get out of your own way."

As we go forward in our exploration of Queen Margaret, I keep this concept of positive embarrassment in mind. To take great risks in order to tell the truth is frightening. But the reward is simple. Whether on stage or in day to day life, authenticity allows us to be truly seen. As storytellers, that is the best we can hope for.

Thanks to Brown University, you can read Anne Bogart's full essay here:

Keep it real,