• Patrick McAndrew

Learning How To Be Awake

On The Low Tech Trek, I talk a lot of talk on how important theatre is, on how crucial acting practices are in the digital age.  It may be easy for me to say this, but I often encounter some confusion when it comes to this.  “Acting practices?” people question.  “So…I have to be an actor in order to be digitally well?” Most people are intrigued by my methodology.  With that said, I am still trying to figure out the best way to get this message across and to educate the general public into how important the theatrical arts are in this day and age.

Many of you have probably heard of the TV show, Inside the Actor’s Studio, where host, James Lipton, will interview reputable actors about themselves and about their work.  It’s a great show if you are interested in the inner workings of an actor’s life and the process they undergo when performing, on stage or in television and film.

A while ago, I stumbled upon an interview with Hugh Jackman on Inside the Actor’s Studio.  This is a guy who knows what’s up when it comes to emotional intelligence! Not only is he a great actor, but he is a very well-respected and well-liked guy, not your average Hollywood diva.

At the end of the show, students involved in the arts have the opportunity to ask the actors questions.  Check out this clip below:

I couldn’t have said it better myself, Hugh! As he says, “The things you learn as an actor, about listening, about being present, about who you are, about human nature, I think everyone should learn it.  The life of an actor is really about being awake.”

We need acting now more than ever.  So much of society isn’t awake.  We are off in our virtual worlds and not aware of our surroundings.  We are not listening to one another.  We are not fully present with one another.  And, because of this, our relationships drastically suffer.

Our relationships aren’t able to reach any meaning or depth when conversations are being constantly interrupted by the presence of a phone.  How can we be vulnerable and open with one another when the person we are talking to (or ourselves) aren’t fully there?

A good friend of mine recently put it, “How can I compete with a smartphone? There is so much information available for people to access on their phones.  They have the whole Internet at their fingertips.  If I’m on a date, or out with a friend, I don’t stand a chance. The smartphone is going to win.”

This is why acting, theatre and the performing arts are so important nowadays.  They educate us on how to connect with one another.  They educate us on how empathize with one another.  They teach us how to listen, how to be present, and how to focus on what truly matters in our lives, a large chunk of that being our relationships.  This has always been important, of course, but is becoming increasingly important as we spend more and more of our time online.

I’m still trying to find the correct approach in educating the public on positive tech habits, but I am confident that using acting as a tool to learn how to be awake is essential to our understanding.  We must be awake instead of retreating into a digital slumber.  I think Hugh Jackman hit the nail on the head.

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