Acting in the teen years can be an incredible experience. Otherwise, I never would have created the LATTE Theater Company or the Empathy Movement Method to help young actresses and actors thrive. So let’s take a beat and talk about why teens need additional safety around their stage experience and character creation.
Teens are exploring and defining who they are. Trying to do this hard enough in this age of tech and social media. When you are on stage you are creating a character that has its own separate emotional responses, physicality and personality. That is complex to any age, let alone when the brain has not hardwired (till the mid to late twenties).To make things all the more challenging, often acting schools teach method acting or fail to teach the teen to approach character development as a healthy exercise with aesthetic distance.
Look at the cautionary tale of Heath Ledger and how he lost himself in the character. Look at actors and actresses who fall in love – with each other’s characters, unaware in that moment that they aren’t falling in love with each other. If adults easily have fallen into these pitfalls, don’t we owe it to teens to give them a safe and nourishing framework to thrive on stage – and off?
Thoughts to percolate:
As you choose a program that will in influence your teen, ask how they help the teen grow on stage and off. How do they protect the psyche of the teen as they bring a show to the spotlights?
~ Felicia Pfluger, Pfluger Empathy Movement Method, (c) 2023