Drama is an art.Its artists are actors.Just like any other art form, proper training in theater is essential to gain mastery in the skill of acting.There are many approaches to teaching acting.Gordon Phillips, a seasoned professional in the field, has developed a very interesting method.In his book, Take it Personally, he describes his system as “the most honest, natural, and practical….The closest to the way nature itself works” (26).Phillips’s pedagogical technique revolves around the idea that the actor must learn to use a set of “tools” with which he can handle any role given to him.
Through his approach, Gordon Phillips hopes to give all aspiring actors a set of instruments with which to conquer any character.”The Process,” as he calls it, states that the tools in the “actor’s toolbox” do not entail acting in and of themselves, but instead give the actor a way to master the art of acting.
The main component to Phillips’s “toolbox” of acting involves neutralization and actualization of the self, the script, and the acting environment represented in the script.
In order to comprehend this, we mustfirst realize the definition that Phillips is referring to when speaking of neutralization and actualization.By neutralization, Phillips means to say that before beginning to tackle any given character, one must open himself up to the new character; free himself of judgments and preconceptions of the character.After this has been accomplished, the actor can move on to actualize, or “humanize” the character.
An understanding of what Phillips means by these two complex ideas now allows us to explore the specifics–sensory, physical, and emotional neutralization and actualization.Sensory and physical neutralization have to do with neutralizing the self.The actor must not allow himself to be hindered by previous learning of the charac…