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Ihrig meets Alba for Actors

alba-meets-ihrig

I’m Ihrig. Who, or what is an Alba?

Indian cuisine? A species of wetland bird? A new kid’s toy?

Get yourself a’googling the term ‘Alba’, and the search will turn up an organic skin care product, multiple pictures of Jessica Alba in bikinis, and a Wikipedia entry for the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America. (The acronym of which apparently translates to Alba in Spanish.)

click at this page After getting past the pictures of Jessica, you will find there is not a single reference to Alba Emoting, or The Alba Method on the entire search page at the time of this writing.

What is Alba?

Alba Emoting is what Susanna Bloch named the system of training she developed as an alternative for actors who want to create emotion physically. The system was created based on research she had done in which she identified consistent physiological components in human subjects when experiencing emotions click to see more.

click here Her team chose six emotions commonly labeled as love, anger, sensuality, fear, joy and sadness. They observed consistent patterns in their subject’s breathing, facial gestures and body postures. They categorized them and named them Effector Patterns.

Is Alba for Actors?

http://superiorpaper.com/?mapca1 In short, scientists deconstructed and catalogued physical patterns that accompany the experience/expression of particular emotions.

Is this relevant for actors? Possibly.

Can actors construct the physical patterns to effectively produce an emotional experience? And, if so, how would an actor use that skill?

please click for source Alba practitioners claim that actors can elicit an emotion simply by the physical act of replicating each emotion’s Effector Pattern. They claim no psychological component is necessary. This means an actor who desires to express grief doesn’t have to remember the time when her childhood dog died, nor does she need to imagine her current pet being hit by a car. Simply breathe, gesticulate, and posturize, and the emotion will come.

Does Alba actually work for actors?

After participating in my first workshop, which was a 30-hour training, I can tell you the answer is yes. After following very specific instructions from an excellent and qualified instructor (Jessica Beck) I was able to begin inducing emotional responses simply by constructing the patterns of each emotion. The process is clearly a personal one requiring tweaks and adjustments. Different emotions came easier for some individuals than others. I estimate I will master the technique for all six patterns in a relatively short amount of time simply by practicing. By the end of this particular workshop, my fellow classmates and I were able to switch effortlessly from one emotion to another within one breath. If you would have told me this was possible on day one, two, or even three of the workshop, I would have been skeptical, but for me it all came together.

With proper instruction and practice, an actor can learn to cry or laugh on cue. But, does that make them a good actor? Some actors and acting instructors might even ask if that has anything at all do with the overall skill set required to become a capable actor.

In personal interviews with practitioners, and by watching some of the few promotional videos and literature I could find, there is not a clear consensus on how to implement Alba into one’s acting technique, which makes sense. After all, the main champion of the technique is Susana Bloch, a neuroscientist from Chile. A scientist would likely equate producing emotion as the main skill in acting; a perception that will make many actors cringe check this out.

In addition, there are so few practitioners and even fewer qualified teachers, it doesn’t appear that Alba has really found its stride yet go here.

How an Actor can use Alba. http://stuartsgreen.com/?map10

From any actor’s perspective, being able to immediately produce an emotion should certainly be a valuable skill. There are several ways an actor could implement this skill.

Using Alba as a tool for emotional preparation makes great sense. An actor can quickly bring himself to life emotionally backstage and enter the scene fully emotionally engaged.

Once the technique is mastered (which to me means thoroughly automated), an actor might consider using a breathing pattern to trigger a response while in performance. Critics contend using the technique during performance could break the actor’s connection to the imaginary circumstances, which I believe can happen if the actor needs to redirect their attention outside of the imaginary world in order to elicit the emotion. However, in my experience, noticing my breath ‘as the character’ allows me to stay connected and use the technique to deepen the experience of my character.

Still another great practice is to use Alba to explore the imaginary circumstances of the play by ‘emotionally scoring a script’ during the discovery process. By consciously choosing and using specific effector patterns, the actor can discover new meanings and experiences for the character. This was an exercise used at the workshop I attended, and it gave me new insights into a monologue I had been doing for years.

Improving Actor’s Training through Cognitive Sciences.

But for me, the technique holds a greater value. It could perhaps help change the landscape of actor’s training. It could help actors to move away from the ambiguous metaphorical teaching methods of the psychological era and move us towards the more practical and effective methods being developed from cognitive sciences.

My first book, The Actor’s Machine, uses models from cognitive sciences to teach actors how to “live truthfully in the imaginary circumstances.” Students have literally cut their learning curve in half and reportedly immediately deepened their personal understanding of the acting process.

I am currently writing my second book, which includes a technique that teaches actors to authentically embody the experience of their characters by creating relevant memories of the character and anchoring those memories to a stimulus within the imaginary circumstances. Adding the Alba tool to this process makes the work even more effective.

Using Ihrig/Alba to create a character’s memories.

By creating a character’s memories, actors can create spontaneous responses that are unique to the character, even if they are foreign to the actor. For example, the actor who loves dogs in their everyday life can invoke a genuine, spontaneous fearful reaction when presented with a dog within the imaginary circumstances.

From a neurobiological perspective, emotion is a neuro-chemical event that occurs in response to a stimulus (real or imagined), the main purpose of which is to help us remember a past experience for future use. Therefore the ability to create an emotion without using aspects of personal experience opens the door to use emotion to encode new information created in the actor’s imagination.

Actors can use a method called Directed Focus (from The Actor’s Machine) to create their character’s memories and use Alba to physically create an emotional state. This enables an actor to consciously replicate the process by which we naturally store and retrieve memories.

I am very excited about the potential to use Susana Bloch’s research and the current development of The Alba Method to further advance actor’s training.

I believe focusing on techniques that can be quantified by cognitive sciences can get us closer to giving actors a clear-cut, no nonsense approach to create brilliant performances every time. But no matter how an actor chooses to implement the Alba tool, I am of the opinion that Alba can, and probably should play an important role in the development of an actor’s craft.

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