How It Works
HOW IT WORKS
PERFORMING YOUR PROFESSION uses a specific sequence of physical exercises to access the right brain, free your creativity and learn in the body (muscle memory). It embraces acting techniques from a variety of acting teachers, theorists, and directors to accomplish specific goals. These techniques and exercises stretch and develop intelligences beyond the left brain-oriented linguistic and mathematical, and prepare you for success in the 21st century.
YOU AND YOUR RIGHT BRAIN
Your professional education has thoroughly trained your left brain, filled it with data, and grown your linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences.
In the past those 2 intelligences were the measure of success.
Now we know that education which foregrounds those 2 intelligences at the expense of others is insufficient for the 21st century.
Now we know that learning to access the right brain, and allowing it to work in tandem with the left, as geniuses like Leonardo DaVinci did, strengthens other intelligences and optimizes the performance of the professional.
Now we know that unlocking the right brain
- elicits fresh, original thinking.
- increases observation and listening capabilities.
- enables you to communicate with your entire body.
- facilitates empathy.
- lets you see things in a new way.
- sharpens memory.
- unlocks spontaneity.
- develops interpersonal, bodily-kinesthetic, musical and intrapersonal intelligences.
- helps you discover your own authentic style.
- alleviates “stage fright”.
- creates the professional of today, not of the past.
THE CONNECTION TO ACTING AND THEATRE
TO LIVE IS TO ACT.
Acting requires “disciplined, synthesizing, creative, respectful and ethical” minds (Dr. Howard Gardner’s “5 Minds for the Future”). Acting requires the partnership of right and left brains. Performing professions requires the same.
In PERFORMING YOUR PROFESSION© work, each of the following skills is exercised and developed through a specific sequence of specific exercises. Mastering these skills enables you to feel, walk, and sound confident, enthusiastic, energetic, and authentic, and to perform your profession at the top of your game.
Acting (and living) is:
- doing, behaving, physically responding to stimuli. As actors onstage, we do something every moment of our lives. We are never doing “nothing.” When we are doing something fully, the entire body is involved. There are no “talking heads.”
- focusing. When we are centered, fully engaged in doing something, we do it best. There’s no mental space for nervousness.
- observing. Given circumstances condition our behavior. Awareness of the details of given circumstance or context — the who, what, where and when— is as necessary to the non-theatrical professional as it is to the actor.
- playing & imagining. Play is the work of children and the province of the artist, for whom play is life work. Artists and children work in the same in-the-moment creative state or state of flow. Lawyers, medical, clerical and other professionals work in this state when they are doing their job at their highest level.
- creating. Actors create and shape behavior to do their job: pretend they are someone else. Professionals similarly create and shape behavior to do their jobs, whatever the particulars of each job.
- finding truth in a mask. As actors learn techniques to perform truthfully each character (mask) that they play, non-actors can learn to discover authentic behavior for their “professional character.”
- communicating. Actors’ fundamental task is to communicate. It is also arguably the most important task of any professional. Exercises used in actor training are applicable to enhancing professionals’ communication skills. Communication involves not only speaking, but physical action, from walking to standing, to handling “hand props” like briefcases and files. How you perform those actions sends messages. As actors learn to perform “stage business,” professionals can learn to use their bodies to send the messages they mean.
- problem-solving. Acting is problem solving. A character wants to do something. There’s an obstacle. The actor, playing the character, chooses specific physical actions to overcome the obstacle and achieve the character’s the objective. In real life, it is profitable to ask, “What do I really want in this scene, what’s in my way of getting it, and what can I do to get what I want?”
- collaborating. Actors collaborate with each other, with other theatre artists and with the audience. The most successful non-actors of the 21st century are able to collaborate and be genuine team players.
- being able to separate the self from the character at the end of the performance. As the actor removes the makeup of a character at the end of the play, so the healthy non-actor professional can separate herself from the professional mask at the end of the day. Self-preservation demands it.
OTHER THEATRE SKILLS USED IN EVERYDAY LIFE THAT ARE TAUGHT IN
PERFORMING YOUR PROFESSION© WORKSHOPS, COURSES AND COACHING
PERFORMING YOUR PROFESSION© WORKSHOPS, COURSES AND COACHING
Set design: The set designer creates an environment for action. In creating your office, or even arranging chairs in a conference or meeting room, you are setting the stage for professional action. Objects you place in the space (“set props”) give information and set a tone. PERFORMING YOUR PROFESSION© helps you become aware of settings as integral parts of professional action.
Your choice of personal “hand props” gives information to those who see you use them. PERFORMING YOUR PROFESSION© gives you a chance to explore and practice your use of environment and “props.”
Costume design: The costume designer creates garments to illuminate characters’ personalities, to reflect their socio-economic position. Costumes are appropriate to the time and context of the play’s action, as your working dress must fit the cultural norm of your profession and your professional persona. PERFORMING YOUR PROFESSION© workshops support your awareness of norms and your understanding of messages conveyed by appearance.