‘Non-Doing’ in Acting and the Alexander Technique

by Alexander Technique teacher, Michael Frederick
As students of the Sanford Meisner work at the Baron Brown Studio, how many times have you been told to “trust the work” especially in relation to your emotional preparation? The difficulty is that we very rarely trust.  We cleverly try and manipulate our emotional preparation and the corresponding action at the very last moment. This lack of trust is born out of our fear of not being right or being criticized by the acting teacher or even worse…self-criticism.
The Alexander Technique is a learning method that can teach you how not to be controlled by “knee jerk fear reactions”. This occurs when you learn how to observe yourself impartially and allow a freedom of movement throughout your whole body.

When you learn how to recognize your own habit patterns of movement and thinking that interfere with good functioning and balance…you have a choice. Either to stay in the “same old familiar habitual soup” that causes tension/pain or allowing yourself to delicately move into lengthening and widening…i.e. head leading body to follow. This is a process of non-doing, much like Eugen Herrigel describes in his seminal book, Zen and the Art of Archery.  (If your haven’t read it…I strongly recommend that you buy a copy today!)

We are basically a “self-repairing mechanism”, when you consciously learn how to let go of unnecessary tension your body will right itself which can be very healing. As my Alexander Teacher in London used to say, “When you take care of the wrong, the right will take care of itself.”

Our linear mind cannot figure out the right thing to do, even though this is our usual approach to life. However, we have the ability to ‘watch the program” of our conditioned thinking and through a process of subtraction and deconstruction allow change within our whole being.

I cannot over emphasize the importance of trusting and having faith in the Acting Training you are studying at the BaronBrown Studio.

Please remember the saying of Rabindranath Tagore from India who became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature…

“Trust/Faith is the bird that feels the morning light when the dawn is still dark.”

My next series of Alexander Technique Classes at the Baron Brown Studio will start on Saturday September 16th. If you are interested, please phone me at: (310) 880-7700  or  email michaelfrederick123@gmail.com

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