Wednesday, June 25, 2008

‘Post-Dramatic’ Stress: Negotiating vulnerability for performance

by Dr. Mark Seton, Honorary Research Associate,
Department of Performance Studies, University of Sydney

To read the whole article please go to

The greatest accolade given to actors is that of bravery rather than technical competency. We admire actors who ‘lose themselves’ in a role or who ‘expose’ themselves through their vulnerable portrayals. Yet at what cost? Some actors move from role to role with apparent ease while others seem to ‘live out’ their latest roles often prolonging addictive and potentially destructive habits. Schechner observed “the cool-down ought to be investigated from the point of view of both performers and spectators”. From my participant-observation of sites of actor training, I have witnessed advice in dealing with vulnerability, in the aftermath of performance, that suggests that actors either “develop the heart of a dove and the hide of a rhinoceros” or just “get over it!”. I discuss the lack of preparation for performers to negotiate what I have coined, evocatively and provocatively, ‘post-dramatic’ stress. I review the limited research that has sought to highlight the neglect of actors’ wellbeing in training and performance contexts and, subsequently, I proffer some options for negotiating this vulnerability. I argue we can teach and learn ways in which vulnerability can become a transformative process rather than something that has to be either defended against or denied.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Book aims to help keep actors sane, balance emotions

by Gorham Gazette, Emma Bouthillette

Faint sounds of a flute trickle in through the window of Emmanuelle Chaulet’s office on the second floor of Corthell Hall on USM’s Gorham campus. With nothing but a desk lamp on, the office is dark and cool. On the wall, Chaulet displays her certificates and awards. Newly hung is a framed cover of her recently published book.
Chaulet, 47, has always been involved in performance arts, an international actor in films and theater in the U.S. and France. Chaulet is now a director, teacher and author.
Originally from France, Chaulet spent time studying and performing in New York. Now a Gorham resident, she began working for USM and directing performances in 1994. As an adjunct faculty member, Chaulet teaches an introduction to acting course and manages the university’s performing arts events.
Chaulet joined the list of published faculty this year with her book, “A Balancing Act”. In April, Chaulet’s book was one of 30 works selected and honored at USM’s Authors’ Wall Ceremony. At the ceremony, Chaulet presented the book to the audience and received a framed cover of the book. Besides the one that hangs in her office, another is displayed on the Authors’ Wall.
“Its an honor to me because not all the books faculty published this year were selected,” Chaulet said.
Chaulet decided to write the book because of encouragement from her students and colleagues. She said “A Balancing Act” is geared toward actors, giving them a method to keep them sane, help develop creativity and balance their emotions. It is a balancing act she had to overcome on her own.
She said she turned from acting to directing when she felt her emotions playing various roles were becoming too intense.
“As a director, I realized many actors had the same problem I had,” Chaulet said.
The problem was that as actors, people become consumed by the roles they play and often have a hard time returning to themselves, she said. In her book, Chaulet includes an interview Oprah Winfrey conducted with actor Anthony Hopkins, known for his role in “Silence of the Lambs,” who said the dark roles he has played have taken a toll on him.
“When you are a performer, you go through many roles and you go through something I call ‘post performance stress,’” Chaulet said.
Chaulet recognized the need for actors to overcome their roles and to hold more balance between their acting and real lives.
“A Balancing Act” sums up all the research Chaulet has been conducting on energy work, holistic healing and applying the techniques to acting. After all her research, Chaulet said the book is the only one of its kind in publication. She intends the book to be a tool to help actors work on their own holistic healing and develop their highest creative self.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Quote of the day from Felicity Huffman:(ABC's Desperate Housewives)

In this business, you work a lot, and then you don't work forever. It's feast or famine. You're worth something, and then you're worth absolutely nothing. It comes and goes. And so when it actually does come, the acknowledgment is nice, even though at the same time you know it's very ephemeral.
Read more:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

QUOTE OF THE DAY from Sir Ben Kingsley:

In a nutshell, my philosophy is this:

The power of now: the habit of being fully present is a great gift because it affects how we love, attend to life, how we give. It's all we have.


Friday, June 6, 2008

A Holistic Actress: portrait of Rekha Sharma

Rekha Sharma is an accomplished Canadian film, stage and television actress, whose ancestors originated from the state of Uttar Pradesh in India.

Rekha first studied at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, followed by studies in Massage Therapy. She first became a Holistic Counselor.
Rekha found her love of acting in fifth grade in a school play; however, it was later (in her early twenties) after dabbling in a variety of things that Rekha made the decision to pursue an acting career. She studied at the Ivana Chubbuck Acting Studio and later at the Lyric School of Acting. Most recently, she has worked with renowned acting coach, Larry Moss.

Her stage productions include Prisoners, Counter Offense, and David Mamet's Oleanna. Rekha’s feature films include Whisper (2007), Memory (2006), Fierce People (2005), Edison (2005), The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) and The Core (2003). Her latest film Traveling (2008), stars Jennifer Aniston, Aaron Eckhart and Martin Sheen.
She is currently working on the Emmy (2007) and Peabody (2006) award winning Sci-Fi series, Battlestar Galactica, in which she plays Tory Foster, chief-of-staff to President Roslin (Academy Award nominated, Mary McDonnell).

Her holistic interests show when she isn’t acting: she loves painting, playing Sarangi (an Indian classical instrument), yoga, meditation and the arts.

Rekha supports numerous charities, including Hurricane Katrina victims in the Southern States, Tsunami victims in Southeast Asia, and housing for outcast women in India. In Vancouver, she supports women’s shelters, has taught acting to street youth on the Downtown East Side, and supports numerous local venues for the performing arts.

This definitely shows her spiritual involvement in a greater purpose as an actress.

"Rekha’s passion for the arts and human rights fuels her dynamic and inspiring performances" says India Journal.

She certainly is an example to follow....

Read more:

Body-mind Meditation Boosts Performance, Reduces Stress

A team of researchers from China and the University of Oregon have developed an approach for neuroscientists to study how meditation might provide improvements in a person's attention and response to stress.

The study, done in China, randomly assigned college undergraduate students to 40-person experimental or control groups. The experimental group received five days of meditation training using a technique called the integrative body-mind training (IBMT). The control group got five days of relaxation training. Before and after training both groups took tests involving attention and reaction to mental stress.
The experimental group showed lower levels of anxiety, depression, anger and fatigue than was the case in the control group.
To read more:

A cry for help

Intimates of the Academy Award winning actress Tatum O'Neal have told that her arrest for buying cocaine, which took place near her Lower Manhattan apartment, came as a surprise.

"I would call it a cry for help," says one friend.

O'Neal, is the daughter of actor Ryan O'Neal and the ex-wife of John McEnroe.
She was abandoned by a drug-abusing mother (actress Joanna Moore) at age 7 and began using drugs by 14 and wrote about her struggles with and recovery from a heroin addiction in her 2004 memoir, "A Paper Life."

The actress completed rehab in 1996.
During her arrest, she claimed that whe was buying drugs to research a part about a junkie.

She also said: "I 'm still sober!...Just when I was about to change that and wreck my life, the cops came and saved me! I was saved by the bell, by the guys in the Seventh Precinct."

To read more: click here