Tom's Teaching Statement
Being an actor is a great privilege. I believe actors must be among the healthiest people in our society – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Only then can they accept the challenge to bring every aspect of themselves to the work, employing not only what they know, but to discover and develop what they don’t know. I challenge the actor to be fearless, unafraid of the chaos that can link our subconscious to our conscious, our inner realities to our outer realities. When this happens the actor is like a child, the impulse and action being one, and no longer are we under the influence of self-censorship or hiding behind our masks.
Actors have sometimes referred to me as a 'major bullshit detector'. That may be true. But acting is not just about living truthfully in imaginary circumstances - great acting is about transformation. And that requires a rigorous and specific road map to creating character. It is in bringing these two ideals together - Truth and Transformation - that I have dedicated my approach to the work. Like playing a piano, I want actors to use every note and chord available in their being, not just the notes they learned early on and know will continue to serve them admirably.
In the thirty years since my initial training with Yat Malmgren, I have continued to develop his very specific and detailed approach to discovering and freeing the centres the actor needs to reach characters not usually associated with their repertoire. Key to the approach is the assumption that Everything is Movement - thought, gesture, emotion, memory, voice - and that through examining our inner resources of sensing, thinking, intuiting and feeling, and experiencing them in all their combinations, we can being to comprehend and express the world in ways we never thought possible. We can truly transform in performance and not simply rely on outer technique.
As theatre artists, I believe it is important to remember that we are in service. Our ego must not get in the way. We serve ideas, the audience, and we have a responsibility to make the world a better place for everyone. This approach to the work is not for everyone. It is detailed and challenging - the order very tall - but the process of discovery can be thrilling, and the outcome in performance well worth the investigation.