Silberman: How does the feeling of being present when you’re in character differ from the feeling of being present when you’re just Ken Baumann?
Baumann: That’s a really good question. When you’re in a trance of performance, not a single part of your brain is occupied by some behind-the-curtain process of wondering how you look on camera or what the next line is. But your brain still knows that there’s an end date to that experience. Everything is at higher stakes because it’s going to end. So there’s a temporal aspect to it that I don’t feel in real life, thank God.
Silberman: There’s an end date in life too, but we’re usually not aware of it.
Baumann: True. Which I think is why Method acting became popular; embodying one state of being for months on end helps fool the brain that that temporal dimensions of the performance don’t exist.
This is an excerpt from a fascinating article by Steve Silberman (@stevesilberman) on the science of acting, which flows into his interview with young actor Ken Baumann (@kenbaumann). Very trippy when you start thinking about how acting the part of you in everyday life actually differs from acting in a fictional work. All the world’s a stage, and all that.
It makes me think about how being an improviser (versus a performer of scripted work) affects the way I perform the role of ME. Maybe my penchant for spontaneous invention on-stage mirrors a similar gravitation off-stage to constant invention of my identity…
Yep, that sounds about right.