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The Lucid Body: A guide for the physical actor

The Lucid Body is a body whose inner being is clear like a clean running brook. It is a body whose messages are heard, whose impulses are activated, and whose vitality flows through every part of its complex structure. Physical vitality is about flow; blood flow, emotional flow, thought flow. We know it when we have it, and we always want more; more vitality, more clarity, and more passion.

The actor’s job is to portray life in all its many glorious and horrific guises. The Lucid Body offers a process that will allow an actor to bend and morph into the multifaceted characters that can handle the gravitas of the Greek tragedies and the unfettered silliness of the Shakespeare comedies.

This physical technique offers a path for the actor who wants to open his body to every human potential, not just to some. Based on the premise that each body holds the potential to experience every human condition, The Lucid Body trains not just the physical body but also the mental and emotional body as well. The up-coming pages offer a guide for the actor to analyze the human condition, both personally and universally, through the exploration of the seven chakra centers, vortexes of energy located on the center line of the body whichstimulate the organs, endocrine glands and consciousness. This book will lead you into a mindset that will help you “hear” your inner body, discover the different parts of self in these centers, and learn to rearrange these parts to suit the given circumstances of a stage character.

One of the most important premises needed to start the process is the actor’s ability to turn the focus inward and learn to “listen” to the self without judgment. From this listening stems the recognition of all those unwanted voices that are usually pressed into silence by the domineering ego. These voices of complaint, sexuality, rage, fear, shame, the list is unending, are what create a stimulating actor brave enough to express the smelly stuff of life. This is what the audience pays to see and smell; the stink of life.

The seven chakra centers are tools for this process of listening. This book will give an in depth look at each center, followed by exercises to help the actor understand his own personality using these tools. Though it may at first seem simplistic to have to decide what chakra type one is, as we are all multi-faceted and complex creatures, the process has the end goal of learning how to build a character. We first dissect ourselves, in order to re-build into character. Without this self- dissection, every character will look and feel the same.

The Lucid Body will help you “diagnose” your energy, by helping you figure out your personality’s primary chakra, as well as your inferior, or least used chakra. Using the great psychologist, Carl Jung’s term, the shadow, this inferior chakra or shadow, hides in the depths of our being. The shadow is the part of us that accidentally spills the coffee on the report, or breaks our Mother’s vase. It is a counter-point to our persona, or self that is revealed to the outside world, and lingers in our unconscious toying with our attempts at being “good..” The conflict within ourselves, like the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other, creates the tension that will bring our characters to life. Another part of self, which can be extracted from the whole, is the child within us. The needy child has a strong will to get what it needs and can be heard somewhere within the adult. Maybe it needs to be heard, or needs to be left alone, but whatever it needs will resonate within the adult, showing up somewhere on the “mask”. So we end up with three layers; primary, shadow, and child.

To build character, these three layers are used. This “layering” technique will help the actor create a complex character filled with contradictions. The end of the book has chakra charts, which can be filled in to practice building the energy body of each character you play.

The Lucid Body is a hands on technique for the actor striving for authenticity. While this process is rewarding both for self-growth and for greater acting control, it is a challenging one. You may find you put the book down several times, because it will force you to look at parts of self that you would rather avoid. When you are ready, you will know. My hope is that by stepping into the Lucid Body journey, you will understand that that which feels most ugly, most forbidden and painful, most achingly beautiful and fragile are the part of you that need to act.