Is Empathy The Key?
Reese Witherspoon once said, “Acting is empathy.” And truly, she’s right. Without the ability to feel what your characters are feeling, you can’t possibly bring them to life. The Merriam-Webster definition of empathy is:
“the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another…”
Having taught acting to young people as a Senior Teacher at The Playground for the past 9 years, and having studied acting for most of my life, I know there are many ways for expressing the need for having empathy in the acting world. Some teachers encourage students to truly “connect” with their character. They talk about really “getting inside” the character’s head—about “becoming” them.