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Acting advice from the Dalai Lama

I saw this quote by the Dalai Lama:

"Remember that sometimes

not getting what you want

is a wonderful stroke of luck."

I know he refers to real life.

But I want to talk about your acting.

and how this quote is GOLD advice for actors.

When you play a character,

the first thing you want to know

is what your character wants.

In every scene, you need to ask yourself:

"What do I want?"

That "want" needs to be specific.


- I want to eat.

- I want the other person to be quiet.

- I want the other person to say "I love you".

and then, not getting what you want is great.

Because you can show us who the character is

through what you choose to do to get what you want.


Here's a scene we played with recently:

(The Bear/ Checkov)

Popova's husband dies and leaves some debt behind.

Smirnoff comes to collect the debt.

He wants Popova to pay him the money.

Popova doesn't have the money.

She wants Smirnoff to leave her alone.

and the great thing in this play?

*Spoiler alert*

None of them gets what they want.

Why great?

Because it give the audience drama

and it gives the performers opportunities

to come up with interesting actions

to get what they want.

These actions and not Chekhov's text

will show the audience who these characters are.

In the text, Smirnoff says stuff like:

"Pay me the money and I'll go"

But it's your choice HOW he says it.

Is he being aggressive or sensible?

Is he begging?

Is he being timid or scary?

Is he super confident or super stressed?

and when she doesn't pay -

Does he start shouting?

Does he start crying?

Does he start laughing?

And it's up to you to decide who he is

and what he would do.

Wanna try?

You can play with scripts from real plays and films

and do this and many more exercises in our acting classes.

Thank you, Dalai Lama. 🙏🏼

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