That being said, this isn’t a final solution for the working actor. It doesn’t take into account the obvious benefits of an active body. In fact, actors need to have an active body. For a theater actor, stamina and endurance are of upmost importance. Hamlet is about 4,000 lines, almost 3 hours, and that actor is on stage almost the entire play! A healthy and active instrument also increases “castability” and range for an actor. A performer wants to be capable of doing anything that is asked of them – on set I’ve been asked to do fight choreography, jump on a moving train, ride a horse, contort and convulse for special effects units for over 8 hours. I’ve played dancers, demons, and shot mad-cap races take after take. All of this requires a dynamic, flexible, and strong instrument. So, the right fitness program can actually help an actor in their craft.
However, it’s not enough to just be strong and have endurance. Above all, an actor’s body must be released. A released instrument helps an actor process their emotional life freely. Release gives an actor presence and makes them beautiful to watch. Without working on release, an actor will be unable to truly and authentically take in the imaginary world. They also won’t be able to extrovert their experiences – leaving all of the crafting they’ve done locked up inside of them. So, for the actor looking to stay in shape, I tend to suggest workouts that minimize tension and increase fluidity and release.
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