THE LUCID BODY: A GUIDE FOR THE PHYSICAL ACTOR by Fay Simpson
In this blog post, I will feature books on acting that I've been reading. What did I like or not like about it. And how I applied what I learned.
What I got out of it:
A big chunk of the book is about the 7 chakra energy centers in application to acting. These are the root - surivival chakra; the sacral - sexual/reproductive chakra; the solar plexus - ego/self-esteem chakra; the heart - love chakra; the throat - voice chakra; the brow - insight chakra; and the crown - spirituality chakra.
According to Simpson, "Each chakra has a specific role in human behavior and is therefore useful to an actor in his or her research of character." Since each chakra is located in a specific body part, the need is generated from that place and informs the physicality of the person.This portion of the book was very useful for me.
After reading, I easily deduced that most of the roles I get are expressive in the heart chakra. Open, often innocent characters whose main need is to love or support someone. Characters like Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Nina from The Seagull, or The Girl in The Lesson. Because of how I look, these are the roles I get. Which can be frustrating at times, because I as a person live in the third chakra, which means there are 5 other energy points I have yet to explore.
However on the same week I was reading The Lucid Body, I got an audition appointment for a role I don't usually play. Halleluya! It was set in a post-apocalyptic world, where the character was an impulsive, passionate and physically expressive female of color. Huzzah! I was so excited.
I figured this woman lived in her root chakra the most. I focused my energy on the bottom of my pelvis; that point between the genitals and the anus. It gave me a heavy 'rooted' feeling. My legs felt like boulders as I walked. I owned the space. My voice dropped. I was ready to attack and protect my clan. My limbs became canons shooting out from below. Even just walking in the street with this chakra, I felt like bashing someone who glanced (don't worry I didn't) or easily freaked out when I thought I left my phone at home. I was in fight mode.
After the audition, I took time in the bathroom stall to get back to center. Once balanced, I felt pleasure in being able to explore that side of myself. I guess that's why we act huh? So we safely live in parts of ourselves that we're afraid of.
What I didn't like from the book:
- Plenty of personal anecdotes that my brain would rather skip.
- More analytical/observational than exercise based. There are exercises at the end of each chapter, but I was craving for more physical-based instructions.
-The vocabulary used was more spiritual than acting terms; which was the purpose of the book - to combine acting and spirituality. If you're like me and are not fond of new agey terms like 'shadow side' or 'child-need' or 'chakra' - then just translate as you read.
Overall, I was nourished. I will definitely be using the Lucid Body technique when building my characters from now on. If you're looking to break up stagnant movement patterns and expand your emotional and physical range, this will definitely help.