AT HOME ON STAGE: Finding Self by Becoming Other
The work of the actor is intimately related to identity. In order to successfully portray another individual, actors must both know and deny themselves. Acting students are forced to examine themselves in ways that can parallel therapy and therefore risk exposing areas of insecurity and self-doubt. At the same time, personal growth is reflected in the actor’s enriched ability to empathize with and portray character. My research investigates the relationship between the search for self and the necessity of submerging the self in the life of a character. Students who are exploring the path towards wholeness share their stories about the role that acting has played in their quest for “mental health”. Issues of purpose, calling and identity are front and centre.
Associate Professor Angela Konrad has been a member of the TWU theatre faculty since 1992, where she is primarily responsible for teaching acting and directing. She has directed more than a dozen plays on campus, in a wide range of genres. In the spring of 2005, she directed a critically acclaimed production of Arlene Hutton’s Last Train to Nibroc at Vancouver’s Pacific Theatre, where she had previously directed Marsha Norman’s Traveler in the Dark. Next spring, she will direct again for PT, the Canadian premiere of Craig Wright’s Grace, a darkly comic exploration of faith and meaning. Prior to receiving her MFA in directing from the University of Victoria, Angela worked in a variety of theatre positions, including arts administration for Anna Wyman Dance Theatre and The New Play Centre (now Playwrights Theatre Centre). This research is part of a larger investigation into the implications of professional actor training on individuals’ mental health.