Just recently I completed a workshop in Clown and, a little while before that, I did one on Physical Theatre. Both these workshops get you to perform behind some sort of mask (an actual mask in physical theatre and a clown nose for, well, clown). However, what I learned very quickly is that you can’t hide behind the mask. It sounds weird, I know, but there is was. With your face covered, your entire body becomes your only true method of communication to your audience. If you try and hide anything you might actually be feeling, they will know it, they will be bored, and, in my case this past week, a crazy man with a tambourine will gong you offstage.
And this is when I realized how physical theatre, clown work and all their derivatives will help me be a better actor. It’s all about revealing yourself and your truth. It’s about being connected to your body, your instrument, and how grounded you are in the moment. It’s about giving a compelling performance that moves people and ensures they never feel like looking away. Now, I don’t consider myself a “physical” actor by any means (though with more practice, who knows?), but if I can bring all of that to my “strait” performances, I think I’ve got the beginnings of something great.