I developed TEAM for Actors while teaching for the University of North Carolina, Asheville Drama Department and as an international workshop instructor of Alba Emotingä. Since my arrival at UNCA in 1998 I recognized that student actors struggled with creating fully embodied acting. They often expressed an inability to grasp the concepts of creating clear active objectives based in strong needs and desires. They needed tangible techniques for selecting and embodying authentic and diverse expressions of their character’s behavior. These students struggled most with putting all these elements together in performance. They often favored one aspect of emotion, action, or intellectual investigation over the other. Their performances at the time could not manifest a full synthesis of the actor, as an artist, bringing embodied life to the words from the script. They did not realize that, as Peter Brook states so clearly, “A word does not start as a word – it is an end product which begins as an impulse, stimulated by attitude and behavior which dictate the need for expression.”
Actors who have not worked holistically may analyze the script for intellectual choices, but then leave these discoveries behind on the page and never fully manifest those ideas into the final performance product. Or they make exciting emotional connections, yet have no reason why the character was so emotional. Another actor may have vigorous movements and gestures that fully embody a character, but lack grounding the text or the subtle nuances of listening and reacting to another actor. It was through these discoveries and the need to provide actors with tools for making connections to all the aspects of an embodied performance that I created TEAM for Actors. I’ve thoroughly tested the approach, terms, and exercises in this book through extensive classroom and rehearsal investigation.
TEAM for Actors synthesizes three elements in human behavior: thought, emotion, and action. This holistic technique helps actors see how these three inter-related parts are present in the actor’s life, in the character’s life, and in basic human behavior. This union of the first three parts combined with the actor’s personal connection to these elements manifests a fully realized, passionate, embodied performance.
TEAM is an acronym: Thought + Emotion + Action = Manifestation
The book (soon to be published) provides a chapter for each aspect of the approach, presenting theories and tangible methods for exploring the areas of Thought, Emotion, and Action. The Manifestation chapter guides the actor through the process of unifying with the character and moving from theory into embodiment.
TEAM for Actors unites the theory behind traditional actor training approaches, basic human behavior and the somatic approach of Alba Emoting. This unification assists the actor in moving from the theoretical to the practical and tangible. The root of the word somatic is soma meaning, “living body as experienced within,” a term meant to resolve the gap between the mind and body, representing a holistic perspective of the person. This book often refers to the somatic method called Alba Emotingä, developed by neuroscientist Dr. Susana Bloch. Alba Emoting is a reliable, safe, and measurable technique for embodying emotions and actions of expression. This somatic technique, threaded throughout TEAM for Actors, provides a scientifically proven method for understanding and embodying expressive behavior. Alba Emoting offers a tangible means for examining physiological activities, modes of expression, and the inner thoughtful experience of expressive behavior and how these elements then meld into a fully embodied performance.
The book includes many of my own original exercises created through years of experimenting with this approach. I also share stories of acting and directing experiences using TEAM for Actors in my classes and rehearsals. In order to connect these acting theories with basic human behavior, I include Maslow’s basic psychological theory of a human hierarchy of needs, and connect each term and method used in the TEAM to examples from daily life. Finally, since past acting teachers will always influence and inform the present, the book also refers to revered acting techniques, relevant terms, and traditional theories and exercises developed by notable acting teachers.
Stay tuned for more information on TEAM for Actors, and news about the soon-to-be-published book!