Have you ever been with a friend and caught a glimpse of the animal that lives within them? Sometimes bone structure lends to a certain species. One of my best friends shared that her grandmother (an artist) perceived that people are either like birds or fish. I was told I was like bird. I think I hang around with a lot of fish… Lately my actors communicate that I’m very feline, perhaps because I live with two cats!
Within all of us lives an inner animal. Of course our human reality exists as well… but within each of us dwells the instincts and breath of a primal, earthly creature that needs and wants for shelter, freedom, food, safety, pleasure and companionship. And at times, there is great value to live into the thinking of our inner animal. It can allow us an innocence that surrounds an animal’s perceptions. We can experience a profound depth in being quiet and listening to the drum of the turning of the earth from the animal within.
Every character also has an inner animal. In acting you can use this insight in hearing the voice and finding the physical confidence and behavior of the character you’re developing. You can discover nuances in rehearsal with the great support of an inner animal in mind. It can guide you into a depth that can be found without words. The inner animal can inspire the actor from a core that moves past the intellect into the unknown. Any movement into the unknown has great value for the actor.
Daring to risk beyond a safe choice and moving to the new is courageous, which is what great acting is made of.
So how does one apply this in the work? By exploring this tool when it doesn’t count. In other words, practice it at home and in class doing scene work, using this perception. See how it affects the needs and want of your character. Own, discover and apply the insight of the life of that animal so that it is part of you, so that you aren’t hiding behind the work but revealing that part of you that has discovered the life of the Inner Animal.
Eventually, when you master this tool, you may use it professionally. Remember, the bigger the role the bigger the risk. It’s not necessarily practical to use this on an audition that is under five lines. But with a larger role, and with a solid director working with you, you may find that it will bring about great choices in your work and more great opportunities will follow.
Email me if you have any questions and I’ll add the answers to this blog.