Have you heard of this? I was just told that my friend did a CHORD cutting ceremony. I was listing to the description of what she did and I said to myself and perhaps out-loud, that is my class. My class is about getting to a place in myself to both cut chords and allow others to attach. It is more of a puppet thing than anything else. I am the puppet, these are my chords and these are now cut and now I look for other chords other strings to hold me up and what I have found ..
I have found that WHAT those strings are attached to makes all the difference.
Attache them to a person and there will always be a possibility of disappointment, Attachment to an idea and there is a chance that idea may cease to serve you BUT if you attach it to you… how I see it is a go into my song with a hook attached within me…I do the piece as I move through the STORY i find where the hook is attached and in what angle and with kindness I remove the hook. Then I take the hook and I re-hook it…I reattach it…I sort of place it in my heart and say….ok what if I was connected here on this story to my self – to my heart…what would that look like and most often…I awake form my piece and I feel freedom from everything and self sustaining energy and clarity but fresh and new and vulnerable clarity. NOT yet knowing of how powerful it is but I know this journey.. I have done this with thousands of people and stories and lies and versions of Self. I have become accustomed to letting myself go in order to find true self hooking into myself..
As artist form the theater and film world start to take a closer look on the way we create my need to question it goes quieter and I find myself in a NEW space in a new conversation with OLD friends that are new to me but old to my soul and the conversation is brought to me…offered to me and I say wow. Someone is talking ME to ME…and I feel joy and my lines vanish and my worry for why no one ever defended me disappears as I count the thousands of hooks I placed back into my heart to guide me and pull me home and I say..i BELIEVE in YOU…I can depend on you…If you fall I will catch YOU I will be waiting….TIME AFTER TIME.
I work with memories. New ones, old ones, false ones and forced ones.
As an actor I have come to understand the power of believing a thought.
if something “isn’t working” during rehearsal…it is usually traced back to a belief system that the actor has. Their belief is then tweaked until the actor gives the director the reaction they are looking for. ( pleaser)
I was recently in rehearsal for a HOT and CURRENT and RElATIVE play. I also believed it was a funny play and that I would enjoy the work. I went in with both feet.
As we began rehearsal via zoom and a I started working in the role…researching the role..I came to see that the funny part was for the audience…the role was much darker. I proceeded with caution.
I began brush shoulders with my character, but didn’t want to fully commit to her thought process. I know myself. I get stuck in character easily. I knew that as soon as I sat down with her belief system, my own personal belief system would be adjusted. We I had two months till the play even officially opened. I was cautious because in that that time I would be traveling with my family and I didn’t want this role one my family vacation and not me. THis has happened to me in the past and it wasn’t something i wanted to experience again.
After the director kept saying
“i see the role and then I don’t …you go in and out…”
I informed him of my decision to move slowly and take my time becomign the role. I told him my process, my weakness and why I needed to go in and out during the three hour rehearsals.
For him to speak to me as Susie when we were doing notes in between runs and not as the ROLE.
I said..”when we are in real rehearsal, a week prior to opening, she will be here.”
I felt we were in a good place and I trusted him and hoped he woudl trust me.
But, then he started doing the classic and very effective AS IF techniques..
this is where a director asks you to relate to the story from a aspect of your own story. As if STEVE your husband was the one dying…etc etc. It happens innocently but it is so effective tha tis hard for anyone to resist. Memory is easily manipulated when you believe you are in a trusting space.
I HAVE OFTEN SPOKEN TO MY STUDENT OF THIS.
Do not let someone destroy your healed stories.
Walk into a smokey bar you will get second hand smoke…it is hard to avoid if it is happening..
Do not allow directors to use family dynamics to activate your perspective of pain in order to relate to the character and then project that to the audience. Your pain in limited at best and vengeful and not conscious enough to artfully navigate. Image and be inspired by another’s pain..in order to empathise and create colors and depth…You are not the deepest well of emotions. Your imagination is. Trust it.”
That would be picking at a wound that has healed and has a scar..it is demonstrative to your core sense of self/family and hurtful to you as an artist.
Actors do not need to feed off their own personal pain in order to act
Rehearsal then became in person and eventually was in MY SPACE. That is where the very talented director began to associate my life and my characters. All of a sudden the scabs that were healing begin to be picked at. My healed family relationship I worked years on re-remembering for a kinder brighter present began to quickly unravel and to warp.
Memory is a game and it is easy to remember pain..pain is the easiest emotion to access. Especially of a person one you devoted much time in pertetruatin. It is essentially a HABIT
It was a huge lesson for me to experience…playing the most antithesis person I could. get my head around her story and then having the amazing experience of being in a room with a classic director that uses emotional recall.
I also felt it is almost impossible for a director to trust an actor will get there if they have never worked with them before and this was also part of it.
I tried to express the concept of trust but TRUST in elf is really the important part of this. I watched myself resist his technique. I knew so well but due to my familiarity with it…part of me secumbered. I wanted to please him after all and soon enough my anger for my past perpetuated family stories opened up
I have since had to let go of this role…in order to preserve both my perspective of my family and my respect for my own process of creating character. How an actor builds their story is i-personal. How they get needs to be visceral chosen and understood my the actor in order for them to get THEMSELVES out.
It is like a consciousness hypnosis we do to ourselves. we get in then we can get out…
If you are being told how to remember something…you can early loose your hold on your own version of the story.
This technique and all the issues it has is proved in the work of memory recall and even in police intvetigate. Being in a room long enough with someone who wants you believe something will force you to believe it. Especially if you feel you are safe, that they believe you…that they are not forcing their will on you.
However..most of us are always manipulating people. We are doing it to each other all the time. We believe that if you believe what I believe they we are seen and heard…connected..we exist…
( think first dates)
Memory is able to be manipulated.
So if you want a JOYFUL life…re-remember your past…recreate a loving perspective of your childhood. Search and find the LIGHT..WHY?
I don’t think we can ever truly be content with our present …unless we are content with the past.
This is NOT about finding the pain and perpetuating it…vilifying people….holding them accountable..
It is more about challenging yourself to see the light, changing your perspective on your present state in order to SURF in joy, and then grab that RAY of sunshine and view your past through it.
SO- I believe we are free to change who we are by changing what we have been told, sold and belief about our past. This works both ways, often flipping back and forth from pain to peace…Eventually one must win..
Lets choose peace
Therapist need us to remain in pain in order to sustain their business..
I am challenging you to rewrite a past story…
1)own your own ability to perpetrate other people..even and especially by your negative thoughts.
2) Choose joy
3) Release those that have perpetrated you from your negative hold by asking them to forgive you for holding them in a negative role for all these years…limiting their ability to heal.
X ( name of the person you are holding as villian)
Please forgive me
I am sorry
I love you
We are who we are because of the way we have formulated the story.
Science and research has proven that our memory is scattered at best.
Pain, real or imagined, is held in the body
Manipulate yourself to be joyful..release the pain for your own well being.
WHY THE FUCK NOT.
THrough my SURF process we learn to trust and channel a foreign version of pain , one that will not hit up right against our recently healed stories and then UNHEAL them.
Being able to open your mind up to a conversation that is not yours is a risk. Once you’re open, you become vulnerable, able to be seduced into another way of thinking. You might find yourself doing and believing in things that go against who you are at your core. Following the shadow…. I like to say…instead of the light.
Shadow is easy to feel and thus follow. We like to feel things….be inspired…have that intensity…. but often that is a lure…a hook….
How do you really know KNOW if you are following a shadow?
To me, dance is my litmus test. It I don’t feel like I can move…then it is a BIG SIGN. If I can’t move to songs that used to bring me joy, songs in the key of love aka C, then I am most likely following a shadow…stuck in a character.
if I just can’t move.. to ANYTHING…and I don;t feel inspired by any song in any key, then I am possibly stuck in LIMBO… Two worlds fighting over me.
In my SURF process I am both in my story and in my future Self…at the same time.
To end the jammed feeling, I have to commit to a decision…one side or the other or I will start to get angry or emotional or irritated…I can be at a place of CD for a couple of weeks at the most……toying with the two versions of the stories. I use my imagination and let myself feel each version in my body. I ask myself…if I do that…what will I feel like?
Choosing one will feel like light and joyful…but then I question that feeling being right by wondering if that being chicken…is that me not challenging myself? Me not wanting to go THERE,,…and so I return to LIMBO and weigh my options again.
If I choose the other choice… I recognize the lack of joy in it. I see myself, in this situation, doing the play and I see it going well and I see my own heart being black…It is not fulfilling my soul…just my EGO. Just like Her…my character
At a time where the idea of serving and helping is more than needed, why would I not focus on that? As a person who feels called to help, why would I not be in that world right now?
That is interesting to me and I go back to LIMBO and sit a little. I Look for words to express my feelings a little… speak softly to confidents my “team”
Then I start to cry from the release of ONE of the choices…
The one that is actually holding me back…and I move toward the joy knowing how easily I could have and was being seduced by ego…empty gains that don’t fulfill me anymore. YET…still can seduce me.
I went into this with ROLE with a salivating tongue…that is the always a bad sign. How tricky seduction is…even when you know it is bad for you…. you sometimes have to go all the way in to unhook yourself from it.
I am undueing myself go from role. I hope it frees me to follow my own lightness.
Being able to open your mind up to a conversation that is not yours is a
risk. Once you’re open, you become vulnerable, able to be seduced into another
way of thinking. You might find yourself doing and believing in things that go
against who you are at your core. Following the shadow…. I like to say…instead
of the light.
Shadow is easy to feel and thus follow. We like to feel things….be
inspired…have that intensity…. but often that is a lure…a hook…. and
depending on how strong that shadow is to you at the time… how you are able
to battle it will be the determining factor. But how do you really know KNOW if
you are following a shadow?
To me, dance is my litmus test. It I don’t feel like I can move…then it is
a BIG SIGN. If I can’t move to songs that used to bring me joy, songs in the key
of love aka C, then I am most likely following a shadow…stuck in a character.
HOWEVER… if I just can’t move to ANYTHING…any song in any key, then I am
stuck in LIMBO… Two worlds fighting over me.
To end the jammed feeling, I have to commit to a decision…one side or the
other or I will start to get angry or emotional or irritated…I can be at a
place of CD for a couple of weeks at the most……toying with the two versions
of the stories. I use my imagination and let myself feel each version in my
body. I ask myself…if I do that…what will I feel like?
Choosing one will feel like light and joyful…but then I question that
feeling being right by wondering if that being chicken…is that me not challenging
myself? Me not wanting to go THERE,,…and so I return to LIMBO and weigh my
If I choose the other choice… I recognize the lack of joy in it. I see
myself, in this situation, doing the play and I see it going well and I see my
own heart being black…It is not fulfilling my soul…just my EGO. Just like
At a time where the idea of serving and helping is more than needed, why
would I not focus on that? As a person who feels called to help, why would I
not be in that world right now?
That is interesting to me and I go back to LIMBO and sit a little. I Look
for words to express my feelings a little… speak softly to confidents my “team”
Then I start to cry from the release of ONE of the choices…
The one that is actually holding me back…and I move toward the joy knowing
how easily I could have and was being seduced by ego…empty gains that don’t
fulfill me anymore. YET…still can seduce me.
I went into this with ROLE with a salivating tongue…that is the always a
bad sign. How tricky seduction is…even when you know it is bad for you….
you sometimes have to go all the way in to unhook yourself from it.
I am undueing myself go from role. I hope it frees me to follow my own
Working with a director that asks me to use my own personal past pains for a character is something I have often advised my students NOT to do. However, being in the situation myself it is not that easy to NOT do it.
The director wants me to associate myself with the character as much as possible. In the past I would have run from this but as I am working on my process where the whole point of is to know how to get out I have to do it.
Easy to get out of a character your don’t align with….but trickier to do it with one that bleeds into your own. From the start, willingly…not by chance…but by choice…this is something I have not wanted to do again. Claiming this work is dangerous…but if I have healed my stories…it shouldn’t be…it should be skillful and clear…the path in and most importantly the path OUT.
My SURF process is to both allow yourself to go into and then get out of a character, even if that character is your PAST self. IF- my past pains are healed…I know they are not current. I know that in my heart. I should and will be fine…THIS IS THAT TEST
I have been miserable for days. I have even thought to let go of the play. Walk away. Having been in rehearsal for several weeks. I was thinking NO. THis is not good for my soul. Look how sad I am….understanding her.
And then I thought of a MASTER dance class I was in and at the end when the entire class was putting the dance together…the last five minutes of the entire 2 hour class. I sat down. I bowed out. I was chicken and the teacher pointed it out to the whole group by celebrating those that didn’t sit. Those that dared to follow through till the end.
It was a subtle comment he made but it was pointed and it was felt. An arrow hit the mark. NOTE TO SELF… Dancing with a master company is ballsy- enough I was definitely taking the easy way less embarrassing way out by sitting down.
And so the idea of NOT doing this play because it is going to KICK MY ASS. it is going to show all my cards, it is dangerous. Hell…during rehearsal I was in a room with a guy who tested positive for COVID…this shit is SCARY…I want to run…I am sad and a mess and the idea that I am understanding TRUMP and MELANIA..is even MORE scary.
The idea that I am having conversations with my family about politics and I don’t have a side…the fact that MY opinion on all of this..even the book I spent the past 8 years writing is all being challenged…SCARES the hell out of me.
If I don;t do this show…A direct challenge to my work…it is like NOT wanting a deal on SHark Tank…backing out in a way.
I can see the pattern…get right to the finish line and stop to tie my shoe…looks legit but it is totally NOT FOLLOWING THROUGH.. totally a chicken move
I am not going to back down or back into this…I am going to go full speed ahead….
I know that my relationships with my family are healed…I am living proof here in their home…I know I am aware of where I am able to remember the past and where I can let it go.
I can totally tap into my pain…and then with very clear and defined music and method…get myself out. THAT IS WHAT ACTORS DO….
I am able to do this…or I will be..
Something I am implementing is that I want people to call me by my name. Hearing the name SUSIE is very important for me…it reminds me of who I am ..
I have wanted a company- this idea of a company since I was standing in a white wooden acting studio ( ah there it is- my image of peace) being asked by one of my teachers where i see myself at 40. I opened my mouth and said I am going to have a company but not a normal acting company.
I had no idea what this meant or who it was within me that said it. I literally shrugged my shoulders in acceptances and looked around the room as everyone nodded. Ok..and it is written..Funny how these truths escape if we just OPEN our mouth.
A company? It was 1995- there was NO cell phone and NO Social Media…there WAS however AOL and a Chat room and emails and I was recently using those to stay connected to Steve while I studied in London.
Webber DOuglass was a house made into a school and I suppose that’s what i am seeking…here in Miami…and why the warmth of a home is always missing when I search for a SPACE…
By I digrace.
I was recently texted by one of my students turned past student turned friend turned ….practice partner turned as i sat across from her yesterday….
My first company member?
She doesn’t know this officially yet and I assume the other girl next to her will be as well- she is just 6 months out of my clasS- A KIND SOUL NEEDS TO SOLIDIFY…
They both texted me and we sat from 11-3:30 talking about how to move forward in our lives with grace
You wouldn’t think this is an “A. Ha” moement but having tried to teach and explain this to dozens of other artists not many have fully bought into moving from forgiveness..NONE actually ….they choose to hold onto their STORY and in that the Pain of the MAternal and in that I am a punching bag…as I am THE MATERNAL….i have learned…
It is exhausting and painful but I am there to show the benefits. A woman- a creative- owning her fault lines and taking responsibility…they have a roadmap if they want it…does and don’t s
And as we sat there I have to remind myself these woman are 20 plus years younger then me…both of them have proven in thier way of living…that they are more interested in killing their ego and moving from love more than anything else…
They are not saints…nor am I …we are powerful Alpha WOman with the ability to destroy…but I have informed them what that looks like over a life time and I give them thoughts on how to avoid holding on to anger too long…
THey ask me to the coffe juice shop and as I sit there and TEACH…I instantly see what I have..the daughters I never did, the company I will eventually build and a philosophy that these two women find valuable in their lives.
I am the Artistic DIrector of The Creative Shelter. We practice the S.U.R.F. Acting method and we wil be appearing throughout MIami this year and launching officially in Edinburgh in August 2019- We share stories of HOW TO LOVE along the maternal fault line…