“Play touches and stimulates vitality, awakening the whole person – mind, body, intelligence and creativity”– Viola Spolin
There is a great difference between being childlike and childish. Games have a problem to solve and agreed upon (imaginary) rules (circumstances) in which the player (actor) must spontaneously (in the moment) improvise how (actions) to get the ball in the hoop (objective) while evading defenders (obstacles). Games are the essence of acting. To raise this to the level of artistry is our calling.
“Playing a game is psychologically different in degree but not in kind from dramatic acting. The ability to create a situation imaginatively and to play a role in it is a tremendous experience, a sort of vacation from one’s everyday self and the routine of everyday living. We observe that this psychological freedom creates a condition in which strain and conflict are dissolved and potentialities are released in the spontaneous effort to meet the demands of the situation” – Neva Boyd
If we treat the problems of the actor (beautiful, truthful communication) as a game, we can play and discover the many colors in our palate, well beyond what we think is possible. Actors tend to think too much. I was lucky enough to study acting in Chicago while Michael Jordan was playing basketball. He provided a wonderful metaphor. Imagine if, while dribbling down court, three seconds left on the clock, approaching the foul line, surrounded by all five members of the opposing team, about to leap in the air, he started thinking “What should I do now? I wonder if I can fly?” The clock would’ve run out and the world would never know. Instead, in the safe crisis of the “play state”, Jordan acted and his body did something new that changed the game forever. He didn’t think about it first, rather he played the game fully and his body showed him what it was capable of.