I have had occasion recently to explore what Faith means. Faith is different than “belief” in that one can believe things to be true and then be proven wrong and change the belief (or live in ignorance). Faith however is based on some other knowing or knowledge of a truth that is both internal to us and bigger or beyond us.
The Actual Dance I have come to understand is also about Faith. Maybe better said it is about how my Faith came to be in me. The show presents an incident in my life that I have blogged about before. The incident is when I experience my mothers’ essence or soul exit her body at her last breath. It is from that experience in 1973 that I have come to understand that “life exists in each of us in a tangible form and that the essence of who we are beyond this physical body exists.”
It has taken me dozens of years to come to terms with this experience. The “terms” have been the absolute faith that the experience was real and the insight is true. My “work” since then has been to embody this truth and to connect my conscious self with this internal essence. The Actual Dance – that is the written words and the performances -- are the platforms for that work.
The technique that I use is the one taught to me by my mentor Carol Fox Prescott and my dramaturg and acting coach Gabrielle Maisels. Called “On the Breath” it requires me to listen and experience my own breath through awareness and sound and focus. Related to this is the method of Kristine Linklater for voice development that allows us to connect the vibrations of the sounds and the meaning of the words.
It occurred to me in the study of the idea of Faith and the connection to the breath that my work as an actor is to have a form of Faith on stage that lets me connect to the authentic experience of the words and the show. When I do that the audience is able to share the actual experience and truth of the moments being enacted on stage in profound ways that I never knew was possible for which I am deeply grateful.