Me and My Shadow

6 Feb

I think one of the hardest parts of being an actress is finding the line between your own morals and those of your character.  A character is just that:  a character.  She is not me.  She is not Katy in a costume.  She is Catherine Williams, or Anna Leonowens, or Portia the Ugly Stepsister.   She lives in a world that I don’t live in.  She makes choices that I might not make.  She wears clothes that I wouldn’t wear, and even talks differently from me. 

But at some point, my own moral compass has to be okay with that.  Because even though she isn’t me, and I am not her,  I am playing her, and thus I must be at least okay with her choices on some level.  There are certain things I would never do onstage.  There are other things that I wouldn’t do in real life that I am fine with doing onstage.  Because it’s not me. 

And then there are the grey areas.  The “gee, this is awkward” areas.  But is it awkward because I’m inherently sort of a prude?  Or is it truly wrong?  These are the things that keep me up at night.  And it would be easy to say “well, if it gives you pause then that’s your conscience telling you not to do it” but I know my own moral compass sits WAY to the right, so I might never do another show if that was the gauge. 

I do not undertake a character lightly.  I’d like to think that’s what makes me good at my job.  But this seriousness produces all kinds of “working out” in my head as I continue to separate myself from her, so that I can truly BE her.  That’s what acting is…becoming someone else for a little while. 

Figuring out how to be her without selling out myself…that’s the challenge.

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5 Responses to “Me and My Shadow”

  1. Darla February 6, 2009 at 3:53 pm #

    I love the way you think AND the way you write.

  2. Spring February 6, 2009 at 5:07 pm #

    I’m a bit envious of the opportunity you have to stretch yourself, to work out these quandaries, whilst preparing to portray a character.

  3. Vaniqua February 6, 2009 at 7:05 pm #

    I’m impressed that Spring used the word “whilst” in the proper context.

  4. kathrynsmoore February 6, 2009 at 7:13 pm #

    Well, Spring is a writer, so I expect nothing less. 🙂

  5. jessica Bern February 7, 2009 at 12:42 pm #

    it is very hard to separate yourself from the character but I think it is true that the fact is, you are not that character, the you that sleeps in your be at night, talks with your family that is you, the other person is someone you inhabit for a time and then go back to your own life.

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