chapter  3
6 Pages

December 1954

It is a most difficult thing to explain the difference between emotion and hysterics. When you produce hysterics it is dangerous for the nerves and is not pleasant for the public. It hits the audiences as weakness. When you become hysterical, you choke breath support. Everything is tight. Instead of relaxing and making room for real emotion, your voice is choked and starts to break. Sentences and words become meaningless. Only through relaxation can we produce enormous emotions for acting. Do not worry about over-acting; if you believe in your emotion, and it

is sincere, it is never “too much.” But if you are trying only to convince the public it will be too much. Do not try to give more emotion than you actually have. If you force,

it is as if you began to pull the leg of a baby to make it grow faster. Maybe you are so reserved in life that nothing touches you. Then

break that reserve. With it you cannot be actors. Do not be afraid of using your hearts. Glycerine tears and empty

hearts are not accepted any more for theater. You will not find hearts for a performance if you are an amateur looking for compliments. Be professional in your approach and find satisfaction in your own joy of creation. Do not look for your tears in your handkerchief. Using a handkerchief

with dry eyes spoils everything. Do not try to produce tears. Allow yourself in emotional scenes to get all the emotion you can, and then restrain. Have the emotion, and fight it, and then it will grow. Do not rely on the old externals, wiping away the tear that is not there. It is not

that is needed is believe in it, have artistic joy. You can get softness or warmth only from within. Do not “act”

soft. Recall moments in your own life when you have been soft. You have been soft plenty of times for you are a human being. Recall those moments; exercise them as gymnastics. We have to exercise our emotions. Have the separation between life and acting. Your personal current

emotion is always unpleasant and embarrassing to the audience. You can become pathological on stage if you bring today’s feeling. To use your own emotions of the present on stage is comparable to appearing naked. No matter how closely your present emotions coincide with the part, you must not use them. Learn to recall from your childhood: there, in your past, are the most beautiful sources for acting. If you have to play a love scene, do not take your present love. Go to a past love. Recollect things which are already past and half forgotten, and refresh them and use them now. How much past experience do you need? A small germ can expand

and expand to produce a great emotion. Killing a mosquito can be expanded for the killing of Desdemona. Water flowers expanding from a dry small particle to a colorful pattern are an example of this. You must expand the germs yourself. We can lead you, and show you how, but the expansion is your own problem. You do not have to go, in your life, and do – God knows what! We

are born with every reaction. For example, you must lose a loved one on stage, and never did in life. Losing a pet as a child is enough to translate and use on stage. Beware of pathological states. Keep your mind cool, your heart warm. You are an artist using material needed for a specific part, truly channeling emotion. We have to develop an artistic memory that becomes second nature.

Stanislavsky said, when you approach a part and look for sources, there should not be any shame whatsoever. If you play a character who is ashamed, Stanislavsky said, use anything to get the feeling of shame – even if you must remember when you were a child and wet your pants. When you need to find a mood for an important place in the play, try

to find a time in your own past when you felt the mood which is needed. The audience are not thought readers, they will not know what memory you are using. You as actors have to start to search, look for, and store moods. Stanislavsky said even at the grave of a very dear person, somewhere inside, you will observe and remember your emotion. Maybe you