ACT2MOVE and MOVE2ACT: The Beautiful Pressure of Performance

Jun 19, 2013
Tagged with: ACT2MOVE and MOVE2ACT: The Beautiful Pressure of Performance

Actors need deadlines.  By committing to a performance, the actor’s creative process is set in motion.  The nine steps below make up the process Dr. Bloom and I have discovered in preparing for performance.  They are not so different from an athlete preparing for competition.  Here’s to the 9 Ps!


  1. Picking material – Choosing work that is meaningful and inspiring.  As great as Shakespeare’s plays are, Dr. Bloom and I found Othello too heartbreaking.  So, having tackled Hamlet and Richard III, we decided, enough with the tragedies!  Let’s try musical comedy!  More about that in an upcoming blog.
  2. Playing around – Discovering who the character is through play.  Fake opera sing the lines, say them like an angry teenager, yell everything.  Pretend to be the character doing activities of daily life.  Say the lines and come up with opposite gestures in the body.  Playing around means anything goes.  Try anything that pops in your head.  Keep playing until a form for the character begins to emerge.
  3. Practice –  Defining the form of the character.  Discovering that this line makes the most sense when said this way.  This gesture feels authentic and right with what the character wants.  Do it again and again.  Practice the lines until they are known by heart.  Do the gestures until they become second nature.  Do it all some more.
  4. Patience – Sticking with it when things don’t go well.  Rehearsing can mean going over a line again and again.  It can mean deciding that a gesture does not work.  It can also mean everyone is grumpy and does not feel like doing anything.  Sometimes the thought,  “why in the world are we doing this?” pops in your head and quitting feels like a real option.  Quitting is not a real option!
  5. Pressing On – Continuing to rehearse, even when things are going badly.  Here is an opportunity to go back to playing around – try the tragedy as a comedy or vice versa.  Shake it up.  Just keep at it.
  6. Perfecting – Finding the tiny moments of the character, making each one shine with clarity.  The great acting teacher, Uta Hagen said, each actor should have a secret about their character, something that only they know.  The secret along with practicing and being clear make characters interesting and worth watching.
  7. Pressure – Responding to the deadline by working on the material each day and not doing another p word – procrastinating!  Staying on top of the character, the lines, the gestures, the intentions, knowing that the performance date is coming soon.
  8. Participation – Sharing!  Performance art requires an audience.  An actor without an audience is like one hand clapping.  It does not work.  Invite people to the performance.  Create an environment where they know their presence is valued and then …
  9. Knock their socks off with a great PERFORMANCE!  The work falls away as the actors perform.  It looks easy, natural, and effortless.  Every day life is suspended as the actors and audience are transported to another place and another time.

Performing is twice blessed!  It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

(a paraphrase from Portia in Shakepeare’s The Merchant of Venice)







Author: Elizabeth Vander Kamp

  • Bob McKenna

    Phenomenal theatre! When a play sticks in my head for days and weeks after seeing it performed, I know that I have experienced greatness. Dr. Bloom and Elizabeth Vander Kamp have brought Shakespeare to us in a fresh and profoundly meaningful way. Dr. Bloom brings a gravity of meaning to each word. As a man who has lived a multidimensional life, when he speaks – he channels the essence of what Shakespeare penned hundreds of years ago – the psychological angst that we have all felt. That same questioning and self doubt, is heightened by this actor’s real life understanding of life. This is not just Hamlet, this is you, this is me. This drama is now, in our own lives today. Dr. Bloom and Elizabeth Vander Kamp are edgy, real, and current. They wake us up with their words and performance. They say in a multitude of ways, ”carpe diem”! Thank you both! Please perform again this summer at the Clubhouse on Highland. You were a smash hit !

  • Elizabeth Vander Kamp

    Bob! Thank you so much for your insights, support, and hospitality. Dr. Bloom and I look forward to coming back to the Clubhouse!

  • The Bloom Family

    Thank You So Much Bob for your very kind, discerning words and your gracious opening of the impeccably renovated Clubhouse on Highland(we highly, highly recommend). After all, the Circumstances both fictional and theatrical are critical to performing according to the genius Acting Teacher Stanislavski. You totally understand this: in understanding life by the process of performing we “wake” up our mind and body’s authentic function. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

  • Christopher Bloom

    I was a very proud son when I went to see my father perform earlier this summer. It was truly amazing. I have noticed significant improvements in his movements (fine and gross motor skills). Also, I have seen dramatic (no pun intended) changes in his affect. He had a smile that started on Tuesday and ended on Saturday. He has such a sense of purpose. I am currently visiting my in-laws in South Dakota. Now, when they ask, “What is your dad doing?” The answer is “Shakespeare” A tremendous thanks to Elizabeth, the staff at Lakeshore, his entire healthcare team, Mrs. Mary and family. Also, a special thanks to Bob for opening The Clubhouse for the occasion…….what a venue…….both in physical and emotional tone… full of hope, optimism, and warmth. BRAVO!!!!!

  • MandyOT

    Way to go Dr. Bloom and Elizabeth! It has been fun watching Dr. Bloom practice for his performances. He has a phenomenal talent for memorizing his lines. I have enjoyed watching his interest in acting grow! Kudos to you both!!!