It’s All About You

by Casey Kringlen

It’s all about you. Your excitement, your passion, your impulses, your intuition, your love, your thoughts, your beliefs, your heart, your soul. It’s all about YOU.

IntuitionWorking with actors: creating a piece of art, creating a performance, creating characters and relationships and epic stories worth telling and re-telling, is a magical gift. As a director, my ideas are of little consequence. Before rehearsals begin, I have spent weeks making hundreds, maybe thousands of guesses (educated guesses often times) and fantasizing wonderfully inspiring potentialities. I have made notes, read and re-read the material at hand, met with designers and producers, walked spaces, and maybe even negotiated contracts . I’ve also spoken your words, several times, several ways, sometimes with no emotion and at times with feverish excitement and deep feeling. I have imagined the final product: can hear the performance in my head, see the movements, and sense the energy of the audience. However, that all gets released, as soon as you, the actor, take your first breath as the character in my presence

It’s all about YOU. I trust you completely, 100%, no doubt, no judgement and with only one expectation, one demand, one unequivocal, non-negotiable requirement: that you bring yourself to the rehearsal, to the work, to the play and to the performance. You must be present and with that bring your excitement, your passion, your impulses, your intuition, your love, your thoughts, your beliefs, your heart, your soul, and then together, we will search, seek, explore and find the magic.

Intuition, mine and yours, does not come from our logical brains. Our intuition comes from somewhere else. I don’t need us to agree on where, but we do need to agree your intuition is more creative and more full of magic than your logical brain. As director, it is my responsibility to keep the logic intact if that’s needed for the sake of the piece. If plot is important, if moment-to-moment tracking is important, I’ll take care of that. It’s your job only to be present, fully, with your excitement, passion, impulses, intuition, love, thoughts, beliefs, heart and soul. This is tough in a city where actors are required to direct themselves as they prepare for fast moving TV and commercial auditions. Maybe another time we’ll discuss those challenges, but once you are hired to play or if you will, do a play, and you have a director who knows a thing or two, you must let go of the need to “self-direct”. “Self-directing” could also be called “self-editing” or “self-censoring” or “self-limiting.” Have you ever had a friend show you their portfolio, maybe of photos or paintings, and as they are flipping from one of their favorites to another, skipping the images they don’t think are worthy of your eye, you see something that stops your heart? You say, “Hey, wait a minute, go back a few, what’s that!? THAT is beautiful!” And your friend says “Oh, no, the lighting is all wrong” or “that one? That was an accident.” These are the moments a director needs, requires, and demands. If you are judging your work while working, you are hiding, you are not present, and you are not fulfilling your one requirement, you are murdering creative process.

When you approach a scene or character and you try to decide what the “right” way is or what the director “wants,” you will use your logical brain. Your intuition doesn’t believe in “right” or “wrong,” in fact it’s not capable of processing those concepts. Nor can it attempt to meet imagined expectations of an outside force. More often than not, intuition puts forth ideas that most folks, let’s call them non-artists, would label “crazy,” “nonsensical,” or “stupid.” But here’s the secret, here’s the amazing thing about collaborative art: If you bring me an intuitive impulse, and you commit to it, and remain present while allowing it to flow through you and it does not “work,” I’ll see YOU nonetheless. I’ll get a glimpse of your humanity and I will, always, every time, be inspired to try something else and see what we can create together. If you present me with a logical “answer” to the scene, I will likely forget the time we spent together by the next day. Because, it’s all about you and when you try to find a solution with your logical brain, you will likely find the same socially acceptable boring choices as the other 10 people before. Society’s choice is boring, you’re impulse is unique and infinitely gorgeous.

Whatever you need to do to bring all yourself to the audition, to rehearsal and performance is what I need from you. The rest I can take care of. Digging you out of your logic, ego, people-pleasing, fear-laden, pedestrian world is something I cannot do. And thus beg you to simply show up as yourself and trust that I will love you for it and appreciate every time you connect with your intuition in front of me.

(Photo credit: Hartwig HDK)