Have you ever watched a performance where actors mope around on stage looking as if they would rather be taking a nap? And have you ever, as rehearsing actors, received countless notes from your director obsessing over this thing called “ENERGY”?
Energy delivers the action in a scene. Energy propels one action into the next, driving the moments, sustaining the idea of the play and capturing the attention of the audience. First, you must understand the scene. Then, increase the energy until you have pushed it to the limit. In other words, whatever your character wants, want it more. And more. AND MORE!
Energy comes from our ego and confidence. It is freed in the actor who believes that s/he must have the attention on him/her. The actor believes, truly believes, that s/he is worth every bit of that attention. As a result, s/he makes a point so strongly that it becomes commanding.
On the other hand, energy is inhibited when the actor fears acting. While it is common for actors to feel overwhelmed and insecure on stage, self-consciousness is clumsy and crippling. It inhibits your movements, paralyzing your creative process as you become afraid to experiment and fail, making the performance rather painful to watch. Avoid it. Instead, get into the scene, find the action, pursue it ferociously and forget yourself. It is when you finally embrace the space that the audience will also embrace your performance.