Acting is a courageous undertaking. It requires peeling back the layers of who you are so you can reveal to an audience who you are not.
Actor Care Specialist?
Studies have proven that dramatic story narratives can often trigger actors and/or leave them with emotional 'lingerings' that can have serious impact on their mental health if not managed well. There are also challenging roles that force actors out of their comfort zone demanding them to engage with more of their emotional pallet. Research has shown that this too can bring an imbalance to an actors mental state. As an Actor Care Specialist, I support the actors' creative process during character development while keeping their well-being a priority. My ACES model focuses on;
1) increasing capacity for resilience before accessing vulnerabilities.
2) creating boundaries between actor and the character they are portraying.
3) managing emotional challenges/blocks.
4) elucidating a characters' emotionally complex life.
What's my Responsibility?
As I see it, and why, on top of my directing career, I trained for years in psychotherapy and experiential techniques, my job is to support the actor’s well-being before, during and after they dive deep into the characters they are portraying. Because I understand the actors' process, I am able to facilitate their personal self-reflections in the context of character development thus always maintaining clear boundaries between character & actor. I provide a safe and containing space and work toward preventative measures that safeguard actors from potentially being triggered by the narratives' content and/or themes as they fully embody their characters. Yes, It's personal. It's also very creative & empowering work and necessary for maintaining the actor's mental health while engaged in a production.
How Do Actors Benefit?
1) Increased resilience means bolder character choices.
2) Engaging personal strengths equals manageable vulnerability.
3) Expanded emotional range translates to braver performances with richer material for the director to shape.
4) Expanded self-awareness allows for layered & nuanced characterizations that are honest & grounded.
5) Setting boundaries strengthens ability to be in the moment making spontaneous, authentic choices that are aligned with the character.