The Actors Centre

Why Worry?

WHAT IS IT? Playwrights and screenwriters create conflicted characters who worry – and others who try to help them. Actors breathe life - and anxiety - into them. But what, really, is worry, and what’s the best and safest way to access and represent it? This workshop focuses on the challenging mood of Anxiety, and on (its near-opposite) Happiness. HOW WILL IT WORK? Drawing initially on yourself – but avoiding ‘emotion memory’ work – we will use movement, short improvisations and scripted scene excerpts (modern and classical) to mount a practical, research-based exploration of worry/anxiety, and happiness. (NOTE: there’s no need to learn scene texts before arrival – however you are welcome to bring along short excerpts from any pre-learned monologue (modern, classical or both) which features character anxiety as a central theme.) WHAT DO YOU GET OUT OF IT? A simple yet science-based awareness of the dynamics of anxiety and happiness between people; a quick and effective strategy, using movement and visualisation, to help you approach a scene with appropriately contrasting levels of anxiety or happiness; a checklist for identifying types of Power between people – often the key to understanding anxiety; strategies to help you experience and represent intense worry and anxiety while ‘in role’ – without, crucially, remaining anxious afterwards. Price: £30


Paul Elsam

Paul is the author of the bestselling Methuen handbook Acting Characters (foreword by Sir Ben Kingsley). Trained at Manchester Polytechnic, he has worked widely as an actor in theatre, television, film and radio, often playing very different character types. Paul currently teaches acting technique at both ALRA North and Teesside University. He enjoys using active research to improve practitioner skills, including through his 2013 Bloomsbury book Stephen Joseph – Theatre Pioneer and Provocateur (foreword by Sir Alan Ayckbourn).


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