Acting Aggression

We’re coming up to final performance, and it’s time to get “test-ready”. At this stage most people need to increase their level of aggression. This does not mean that you go as fast as you can, or move with tension because it feels like that’s the way to play your character’s stress level. This does not mean that you should go needlessly fast, stop having fun and whack the crap out of each other.

It DOES mean that you need to take out any unnecessary dead air. Have your “bullshit meter” on. Whenever you feel the energy drop, re-invest emotionally. You can absolutely have pauses in your movement, but always your character must be present, must be aware that they are in danger, must be at peak alterness. Whenever you pause, you are intensely watching your “adversary” to see what they’ll do next, like a cat watching for where the laser pointer will move to next.

Now that the sequence of choreography is becoming deeply familiar*, fully commit to attacks, retreats and avoidances. MoveMoveMove completely out of the way and give your scene partner plenty of space to commit to their attack. Likewise, extent your weapon and energetically commit to your attacking motions (once you see that your partner is “with” you and is committing to their defense). This level of commitment is exhausting as it takes a lot of energy. So commit to the scene fully, then rest. Full out rehearsal, then rest.

Most importantly, have fun! Your characters are in conflict. YOU are not. You can be having fun, even though the scene you are playing has life and death stakes. The more you relax and enjoy the deep connection of a well-played scene, the better your movement and acting will be, and the more effective your scene will be.


*I say “deeply familiar” because you should never check out completely with what your body is doing. You should still be present when it comes to your choreography, its just that you don’t have to think about how every single motion is executed any more.

And now, some joy:
Sigh, I love Bollywood!

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