Real Emotion

​EMOTIONS. It’s a big term, and not just because I put it in ALL CAPS. Whenever onstage, actors project emotions to portray their characters in order to make the audience believe and empathize with their characters. Emotions are such a huge part of acting, some acting studios/schools offer courses titled “emotional preparation” (when in fact they should be titled “we might be able to make you cry on cue, now give us your money, you SHEEP!”). Being able to employ emotions to bring a character to life is one of the most essential tools for any actor worth their salt, and is why the aforementioned emotional preparation classes sell (seriously though, you’re just giving them your money). However, as you would expect, for someone like myself, that is, someone with Asperger Syndrome and a questionable self image, being able to summon up emotions in the heat of the moment onstage isn’t as easy as some make it out to be. Now, I don’t want to talk about this in a general sense, so I’ll just recount a recent experience I had. Warning, if the following sounds depressing or maudlin, sorry, I couldn’t help it.

Anyway, with the  New Year one of my resolutions is to take my acting to the next level. One of the ways  to do that is by learning to cry on command. For me, whenever I see an actor able to burst into tears at the perfect moment, I think that she must be a great actress in that she is able to summon those tears by connecting with a memory of similar feeling and apply said feeling in order to  portray the character’s emotion. This is not something I can do. I can’t ever recall a time when, in the middle of a moment onstage, I was able to recall a past traumatic memory and apply it to my character. Does this make me a crap actress? I couldnt say, as I don’t know what the unspoken criteria is. Part of me thinks that my inability to cry on cue might be a psychological thing and that I am subconsciously blocking myself from re experiencing the emotional trauma (or something psychological like that). But some articles I read about how to cry on cue (yes, OK, I confess I did this, I’m that desperate) suggest that it is a physical thing, and one needs to recreate the physical circumstance one was in to produce the tears. I decided to try this, and so, in my infinite wisdom, I sat on the floor in my room with my back to the wall and my hands on my knees  in the middle of the day with the lights out. As I sat there, I tried to recall A circumstance that led to tears, and I tried to cry as I did in my memory. I sat there for a while. Big surprise, nothing happened. Looking back, maybe this was not the best way to go about generating sense memory, and maybe I should invest in those emotional preparation classes after all.  


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Lizzy Andretta is an actress originally from New Jersey who is now based in Minnesota. She blogs about being an Aspie and other subjects stemming from said topic. You can follow her acting work at

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