Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Spitfire Grill: Laura Savage, Inside the Process of the Actor & the Yogi

 “Did I mention that I spent the last five years in Prison? And I only got locked up solitary three times. Imagine that.” -- Percy

People are often curious to know how actors relate to the characters we portray. For me, it’s all about observation: what does it take to imagine a prison sentence? When I received the role of Percy, I was unsure of where to begin. How could I possibly comprehend everything that this woman has gone through? I will admit that I watched a few episodes of “Beyond Scared Straight” which features inmates giving at risk teens an up close and personal prison experience. This was a great start for me- to see the isolation that Percy endured. But incarceration is not the worst of Percy’s harsh past. How was I to delve into her darkest secrets, and more importantly, how was I to bring her experiences to life? The path for me, believe it or not, is through yoga.

“I will positively receive what the universe brings to me.”

This has been my mantra for the past five years. Living day to day with this thought has had an enormous impact on my creative process. It has made me what I call a “hyper-observer”. Yoga allows me to release daily stressors and see the world more openly. The batman tattoo on your husband’s arm, is it on the right side or the left? Your co-worker with that boisterous laugh, does the inflection rise or fall? These are the observations that help actors to create fully realized characters. Whether we know it or not, we are all learning from each other all the time. So next time you order that cup of coffee, take a glance at your waitress. She may just be your next inspiration.

-- Laura Savage is a Chicago based actor and yoga instructor. She is grateful to everyone who inspires her daily and cannot wait to share Percy’s journey with you. The Spitfire Grill runs September 14- October 14 at Boho Theatre’s Heartland Studio.

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