Acting: Thinking to Doing – Part 1

What if you moved beyond thinking about doing something to actually doing it? Could you set aside your yabbits - the yeah, but excuses? Could you face the trepidation of being back in the beginner's seat?

At a workshop I was once at, the leader made the bold statement that we have become a society of watchers. When it comes to leisure time, we often spend considerably more time watching. We watch television, sports, concerts and movies. In days gone by, there wasn't the same accessibility and availability of activities to plop down in front of; instead, people would gather in their living rooms, salons or kitchens to make music together. They might take part in an impromptu game of baseball, soccer or hockey. It wasn't unheard of to play some just-made-up game in the park or in someone's yard.

Today, many people are too'd out - too busy, tired, broke or afraid. As a result, we may have lost something. The joy of participation. The satisfaction of the struggle to move from incompetence to competence (see graphic below). The opportunity to cleave new neural pathways to maintain and improve brain function. The satisfaction of finding a new love - an activity that we can engage in to help us undress our stress. La joie de vivre - the joy of life - uncovering a new-found passion which helps to keep us young at heart.

Stages of Learning

December wasn't a great month for me. I had to give Hope a push into 2014. For some time, I had been toying with the idea of acting. The only time I acted on a stage was when I was in Grade 10. It did not go well... Sure, I had done skits in my French and Spanish classes - that was short, not on a stage and it was done in another language.

Just after Christmas, I noticed an ad for The Acting Academy. For about a week, I kept it open on my browser. If you could have eavesdropped, you would have heard this ping pong of thoughts:

  • "Oh, it's too far." (approximately fifty minutes away.) "But, it's only 4 classes. You can do that."
  • "I'm too tired in the evenings." "It'll enliven you."
  • "What's the point?" "You're going for fun."

Back and forth it went - it was as if I had an anchor on one shoulder holding me back and a canon on the other, ready to launch me out into the world of acting.

The method that is employed at The Acting Academy is called The Meisner Technique, and it is what attracted me to this particular class. It's all about developing and using your emotions to connect with scene partner(s) and the role you're playing. This fits in nicely with what I do when I teach people to address and undress their stress; learning to use tools and techniques to harness the power of positive thoughts and emotions to be a star in your own life.

On New Year's Eve, I decided I'd had enough - all that to and fro'ing was making me dizzy! I clicked into action and signed up for four classes. Could I do it? Of course. Was I ready to put myself back into the learner's seat. Definitely! Plus, it would be a good professional development exercise to remember what it feels like to go through the Stages of Learning.

On the website you'll see the following slogan:

"Let the character play you, not you playing the character."

Stay tuned for Acting: Doing - Part 2 to find out how I fared and who was playing whom.

Did you know that when you learn stress techniques, you can use them to not only address and undress your stress, quell your fears and doubts and also enhance your performance, whether it be on-stage, in the boardroom or the classroom?

When was the last time you were willing to be a beginner? How did it feel? What did you learn about yourself as you took on this new challenge?

8 Replies to “Acting: Thinking to Doing – Part 1”

  1. Brava! This is so cool, Marianna. Congratulations on giving yourself permission to try something new and, I hope, have fun. Love your riff on the stages of learning.

    BTW … I majored in acting in college and did lots of it on and off through the years … some of it actually on stage. 🙂 As for learning new things, I see each day as an opportunity to begin anew – even if just in attitude. Can’t wait to read the rest!

    1. Thanks, Ronnie Ann.

      This is what is so neat about blogging. You get to learn about the experiences of your readers. I had no idea that you majored in acting. Have you done anything lately?

      A new attitude brings about the daily shift. 🙂

      1. Nothing lately. Don’t feel the urge. But lots of fun memories. Now writing gives me the same creative oomph … with something new each time out of nowhere. And no makeup and costumes to deal with. 🙂

  2. First, I’ll share a few quick takeaways that I particularly enjoyed from your always eloquent blog posts:
    * The joy of participation. The satisfaction of the struggle to move from incompetence to competence.
    * The opportunity to cleave new neural pathways …
    * … it was as if I had an anchor on one shoulder, holding me back, and a canon on the other, ready to launch me out into the world of acting.

    And, a curtsy, to you Ms. Marianna, for your courage in clicking into action and signing up for the acting classes. Bravo! I look forward to reading the next phase of the journey (i.e., who played whom). As well, going through the “stages of learning” is a great exercise and reminder to all of us the importance of “learning.”

    On a personal note, in recent months, I learned a lot about investing in property in rural Texas. The elongated process (stages of learning)–while painful at times (albeit with a positive outcome)–also injected me with new empathy for the job seekers I “counsel” during their often painful journey of transition.


    1. Well, here’s me feeling honoured, Jacqui. I feel like I just got an A. 🙂

      Learning is one of those things that I believe keeps us young, and young at heart. Yes, sometimes it involves pain in the form of impatience, self-doubt and recriminations. I know I have to remind myself to be gentle and to think young – as young as a toddler who is learning to walk. They don’t get mad, they just pick themselves up and keep at it.

      Here’s to success – another A for navigating through the property maze, and reaching your goal, which you’ve parlayed into a brilliant post entitled Job Seeker: Be Patient Even When You Think You Can’t.

Add a comment!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.