Thoughts On Process: Relaxation

The Collective Spirit

The Official Newsletter Of The New Collective LA Acting Studio

Thoughts On Process: Relaxation

Relaxation In Acting

Early on in training, actors often hear about how important relaxation is for the craft. In order for sensations, emotions and impulses to freely flow through us, our body (also referred to as our “instrument”) must be as relaxed as possible. For many actors, this can take years of study to truly achieve. Constantin Stanislavsky said, “Muscular tautness interferes with inner emotional experience.” While this is true, as the actor continues on their journey, solving the problem of relaxation can become more complex.

More Than Simply Relaxing

For the seasoned actor, finding relaxation means more than in a general sense. Techniques such as Strasberg’s “Chair Exercise” are beneficial up to a point, but they don’t show the actor how they can use their sensory preparation and the given circumstances to find their relaxation. When the actor can use their layers effectively, it helps them achieve ease as well as find their creativity to serve the character and the story.

Relaxing vs Releasing

My mentor, Susan Batson, coached us carefully, preferring to talk about "releasing" tension into the work. She never did general relaxation exercises with us. Instead, she encouraged us to "release" our tension "into" emotional memories or sensory choices we were working with. I always preferred this practical method of achieving relaxation because it connects relaxation directly to layered techniques, enabling actors to transform their performances as well as achieve intimacy and find inspiration.

All my best,

Greg Braun

Koreatown, Los Angeles, CA 90005
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