The aftermath of acting
by Elisa Figueroa
In his acceptance speech for best actor at the 2013 Academy Awards, Daniel Day Lewis thanked his wife for putting up with the “very strange men” that have come home in his stead.
When an actor becomes his character, every aspect of life is affected.
“It’s not exactly a healthy way of acting,” said sophomore theatre major Josh Berman. “If the character is healthy then you’re healthy. If the character is not healthy, then maybe you’re not.”
For Chapman’s production of “If All The Sky Were Paper,” junior screen acting major Donathan Walters was cast as an ex-slave during the Civil War. Many nights during the production process, Walters would wake up in a cold sweat because of the intensity of his character’s experiences.
“Coming out of that role was like ‘Oh my god,’” Walters said. “Afterwards I would sometimes still have the slave mentally thoughts.”
Actors who don’t go as far as Walters still feel the aftershocks of playing a dark or emotionally draining character.
“Sometimes [the character] definitely stays with you, so it’s important to ground yourself,” said senior screen acting major Brenna Darling.
Actors who don’t ground themselves lose themselves. According to Business Insider, Heath Ledger locked himself in his room for a month and would hardly sleep for obsessing over his role of The Joker in “The Dark Knight.” He never got over the depravity of the role and his resulting depression led to his accidental overdose.
“Every actor has his or her own way of approaching a role and if you can do it without losing yourself completely, I think that’s a good thing,” said Chapman professor Kelly Galindo. “But you don’t want to do it to the point that it’s harmful to yourself or others.”