The actor’s six pack

by Matthew Godfrey | 1 April 2014

Concentration, Memory of Emotion, Dramatic Action, Characterization, Observation and Rhythm.

A Boleslavsky breakdown

We spend a great deal of time in the studio doing exercises, playing games and rehearsing scenes. I started out as a child performer then drama student and remember fondly playing improvisation games, listening games, tag games, memorization games and going through the gamut of exercises from physical and relaxation to concentration and introductions to world theatre practices as well as astral journeys. I took it in my stride, moving up the grades and from production to production, the work became more challenging and the subject matter more personal and dangerous, but I noticed that many of the exercises and games were essentially exactly the same as what I was doing when I started.

Walk around the room
By the time I got to theatre school, I was really starting to question why we were still doing this exercise. Surely there is another level to get to? Then, as a teacher, I found myself constantly using this exercise. But why? This is the exercise that started me off on this inquiry into the Actor’s six pack.

As a rule, I am not a fan of labels for actors. I have been told that I am a character actor, a technical actor, a method actor and a physical actor. But what do these mean? Fortunately, when I was in my teens, I asked a renowned Canadian actor if he was a method or technical actor. His answer was simple enough: “I am neither, I am an actor”. This granule of information got stored away and I never gave it much thought until much later.

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