dance studio at one of my favorite places to move, The Sweat Spot
The past month I’ve had an increase in movement in my life. I started
taking a sparring class, and though my knuckles are raw and
my muscles are sore, I feel fantastic. I’m honing in on my power,
gaining confidence, and building strength. With my awesome theater
company, The Vagrancy, our last actor workout was a devised theater
piece mostly based on physicality. I’ve also been taking this incredible
acting class with Steppenwolf, which is mostly based on the Viewpoints
technique. The class is opening myself up in ways I never thought
possible and it’s blowing my mind! All this has me thinking a lot about
movement and the power of movement to move you.
Movement is not thinking, it’s doing. Movement
is inherently visceral. It taps into your core. I’ve always
been a believer in the connection of the physical and emotional. If I’m
not in a good place emotionally, it’s no surprise to me that this
feeling will manifest itself in a sore throat or stomach ache. When I’m
feeling in really good shape, or just got out of a killer dance class, I
also feel incredibly happy! It’s all one and the same.
And so it is with acting. I think it’s really important to be in
touch with our bodies, not just to be fit and healthy, but to be able to
convey moments, scenes, characters more truthfully. You could tell a
whole scene without its text and it could be just as powerful, if not
more. You can discover new things about your character through
movement. Movement shakes shit up– yeah, literally, but also
inside. I’ll find myself tearing up within in the first five minutes of a
Viewpoints exercise just because it’s loosening all that
stuff in me, in my core, that is typically bottled up to get along with
my day to day. But acting isn’t day to day. It’s pivotal moments. It’s
conflict. It’s ordinary made extraordinary. It moves you.
couple months ago I had the pleasure of hearing Shelly Gillyard (Senior
VP of talent at Nickelodeon) speak about that pesky little guy, fear.
Of course fear is something we battle with constantly as actors– fear
of not getting the job, fear we are not good enough, fear that success
will never happen, and on and on. But perhaps we battle that demon
because it’s the only story we’ve been telling ourselves. At some point
in our life, we failed at something we really wanted, or our parents
told us we’d never make it– something however seemingly small or
insignificant was the beginning of that story we have been telling
ourselves ever since: fear. Shelly brought up a great point– why not
tell ourselves a new story? It’s just a story after all. It’s not the
truth. I do not have to take fear on and internalize it only to fight it
constantly as I navigate this crazy career. And we all know how
powerful language is– we’re actors after all– so why not use that power
for good? Why not tell ourselves a new story of success and happiness
and worth and positivity?
The Vagrancy’s Tactical Reads of Megan Breen’s “My First, My Fist” at Studio/Stage in Los Angeles
It seems that Spring is the time for Readings! And I’m thrilled. It’s
been a while since I’ve done a reading, let alone so many, but they are
back– in droves. Perhaps there is just a creative resurgence?
Screenwriters, playwrights, poets, aspiring and otherwise. Or, maybe
it’s just coincidence. Who knows.
But in the last couple of months I’ve done a staged reading with my new artistic home, The Vagrancy, as part of their Tactical Reads
series (which pairs female writers with female directors), a living
room table read of a friend’s screenplay, a staged reading of a
beautiful play, Tree of Fire,
at Occidental College as part of Incarceration Awareness Week, another
living room reading of a friend’s original webseries, and then this
Wednesday I will be hosting a reading of my very own first ever full
length play! That’s a lot of readings.
Readings are great because with little commitment you can keep your
acting muscles moving, you have the opportunity to play parts you might
not normally be cast in, you learn about writing and workshopping, you
can be a part of a project from its inception, you can meet other cool
actors but also directors and writers, and the list goes on. And,
as I always like to say, you never know where or when these seeds you
plant will begin to sprout =)
There’s so much swimming through my mind…
Passion. Endurance. Desire. Persistence. Resistance.
A lot has gone on these past few months. Kind of all over the place,
but also kind of related: grad school for literature and film, teaching
theater and journalism, and all while keeping one toe in the pool of
acting. But as these days and months go on it’s becoming clearer and
clearer that the toe just isn’t enough! I’m always hungry for more. My
memory isn’t so awful not to recall that when I did have more time to
dedicate to my career I was still wanting more. More auditions. More
plays. More work. More quality of work. More, more, more! And I guess
that hunger is a good thing. I suppose that’s proof I’m following
the right career. Last weekend’s Brown & Out performance left me on a
high. The mere two hour shoot I did on a fun little comedy short my
friend wrote made my weekend. Watching a friend perform an outstanding
show, and then talking about it, got me inspired and motivated. I want
more of all of this. It’s up to me to get it.
So I’m putting things in motion… planting more seeds… and hopefully there will be MORE.
I’m trying to keep a positive outlook. Chalking it all up to experience.
All that I do (not just the acting stuff) are great experiences. Who
knows where any of them will lead. I just need to trust. That’s the
magic of life, right?