Acting (Actors) – Table Work (Tablework)(Psychology)(Pain)(Strain)(Injuries)(Posture)(Alexander Technique)(Albuquerque)

by ethankind on March 12, 2014

This ebook, An Alexander Technique Approach to Acting (Actors’) Technique, is published on this website in a PDF format. It is very detailed and practical. It will give you the physical tools you need to take the limits off of your ability to create the acting technique you want without sacrificing your body.
This ebook is also for sale on all AMAZON websites in a KINDLE format.
Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A. (MOVEMENT THERAPY)

Because the Alexander Technique is mostly known for how we work with actors to solve their physical problems, it isn’t common knowledge that we also use release work on the massage table to help the actor get out of physical trouble.

What is the purpose of tablework in an Alexander Technique session?

IT IS TO SHOW THE ACTOR HOW TO FULLY REGAIN CONTROL OF HIS OR HER BODY, FROM HEAD TO TOE, SO THAT THE ACTOR RECLAIMS THE ABILITY TO STOP CAUSING HIS OR HERSELF PAIN IN REHEARSAL AND PERFORMANCE.

What do I mean?

There is an AMAZING principle that is central to the Alexander Technique, and it is not part of any other movement work that I know of. Here is the principle: IF YOU CAN RELEASE TENSION ANYWHERE YOUR BODY, THEN YOU HAVE CONTROL OF YOUR BODY. It is truly a display of true CONSCIOUS CONTROL of your body, when you can release holding and tension anywhere in your body.

ANY ACTOR CAN ACT WITH EXCESS TENSION, AND MOST DO. BUT HARDLY ANY ACTOR CAN RELEASE EXCESS TENSION AS HE OR SHE ACTS, UNLESS THEY’VE DONE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE WORK.

Tablework plays a huge role in assisting the Alexander Technique teacher show the actor which parts of the body that the actor has no control over, and then how to regain conscious control over these disconnected areas.

I have the actor lie on the table on his or her back clothes on. I ask the actor to let me lift an arm, and to not lift the arm for me or hold it up once I’ve lifted the arm.

You would be surprised how many actors are incapable of releasing their arm, of making their arm available for me to move without the actor helping. The moment the actor realizes I’m going to lift the arm, they lift the arm for me, AND CAN’T LET ME DO THE LIFTING WITHOUT HIS OR HER HELP.

This is a powerful expression of how the actor has lost the ability to be “at rest” in the arm. In other words, the actor is tensed 24/7 to do something with the arm and is never at ease or rest in the arm.

What I just wrote simply translates into the actor always having unnecessary excess tension in the arms, which is carried into acting, and eventually causes pain and strain, no matter how beautiful the actor’s performance looks to others.

As I work with the actor on the table, I also ask the actor to consciously surrender the movement of each leg to me, or to let me support and move the actor’s head with a released neck.

So, in tablework I teach the actor how to consciously regain control over the actor’s whole body by ASKING THE ACTOR NOT TO HELP ME.

Let me talk about this psychologically for a moment. WHEN WE ARE NEWBORNS WE DO NOT HELP OUR MOTHERS TAKE CARE OF US. We let our mothers do everything for us initially, and as we mature we learn to do more and more for ourselves, and this is normal and healthy. If you look at the logical progression of doing more and more for ourselves over time, many of us get the message that we must do everything for ourselves all of the time.

This means that if you feel you must do everything for yourself and do it well as an actor, you will go overboard. Going overboard means you will do too much work to act. Too much work is too much tension, and this leads to wear and tear and pain.

How this shows up is as an inability of the actor to stop doing too much unnecessary work when acting. IF YOU’VE SPENT A LIFETIME BELIEVING THAT THINGS ONLY GET DONE IF YOU DO THEM, THEN YOU WILL PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY DO TOO MUCH TO GUARANTEE THEY GET DONE RIGHT!

The Alexander Technique teacher’s job is to help the actor regain or acquire for the first time conscious control of his or her body, by finding that balance between doing what is necessary to act, and by learning to let go of the physical tension and habits that are unnecessary to acting beautifully, effortlessly, and expressively.

IN SO MANY WAYS AN ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE TEACHER CAN TEACH THE ACTOR THAT IT IS OK TO ACCEPT HELP AND REDISCOVER THE JOY OF NOT HELPING AND NOT DOING UNNECESSARY WORK WITH TABLEWORK.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

© 2011 All Rights Reserved