Actors can face a tough time on many fronts including the emotional baggage they accumulate over many years in which they have to please directors and audiences – and become so many different characters.
Miami actor Susie K Taylor believes that this can have a hugely negative impact on someone’s wellbeing.
As a result she has developed what she calls the S.U.R.F (story, understanding, recasting and flow) acting method which helps actors free themselves of some of these burdens.
Over the past few weeks audiences have been able to see her one-woman Fringe production Jewbana, which is rooted in S.U.R.F, and brings together drama with performance art.
The work, which is a collaboration with Nedra Gallegos (pictured with Susie), was rated “Excellent” in FringeReview and praised as “hard work to perform – physical, full on and brazen, but meticulously planned and delivered, sharp as a pin”.
It reflects how Susie (as a “loud, often angry and self-obsessed woman”) has thrown off a lot of her own baggage and recast herself by looking at her behaviour through the eyes of those who her actions have affected the most.
She said: “I asked them to say what they really, really thought of me and created a show about what they said. It’s as much performance art as theatre – and has involved a great deal of letting go. In fact I think of it as being ‘an escape act … from myself’.
“Seeing yourself through the eyes of others is an essential part of the S.U.R.F acting method and what’s interesting is that it’s not whether it’s good or bad that makes the difference. Once your perception of yourself is shaken and ultimately shattered you are free again.”
The production and the S.U.R.F method are also about how we make others feel.
Susie added: “For me it is the deepest exploration of being empathetic to people I love and care about. From that has come a production that is a work of performance art and which invites the audience to take part in a wider conversation about their own relationships with those they love and with themselves.”
Find out more here.