Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Acting Can Save the World!

(This post is from the blog of the Mother of Invention Acting School in San Francisco ( an acting class in San Francisco for serious, motivated students.)

Acting Can Save the World!
Acting Teacher Speaks to Acting as a Road to Spiritual Development for Everyone

The failures of the world, at many levels, stem from the inability of people to step back from their own point of view and look momentarily at a situation from the point of view of another. Acting challenges people to do precisely that, argues acting teacher, actor, director and Yale Drama School alum Andrew Utter. To play a role is, first and foremost, Utter says, to be able to see and connect with why a character finds it necessary to do what it is he or she actually does. Utter found this notion to be so compelling that he named his San Francisco acting studio the Mother of Invention Acting School (, necessity being, according to Plato, the mother of invention. Utter will be speaking at 7:30 on Monday, September 10th at Ft Mason, room D100, on the distinctive benefits of acting as a spiritual path. The talk is free and open to the public.

In addition to asking people to be able to change perspective, acting challenges practitioners to develop many other qualities and abilities widely associated with spiritual life: transformation, courage, adaptation, absorption, stamina, possibility, vitality, joie de vivre, vulnerability, and imagination. Acting is also unique in that it depends on both introversion and extroversion: actors have to be able to look inward to get at what makes people tick, but they also have to be able to manifest outwardly what they learn by looking inwards. These faculties are invaluable to everyone, no matter what their daily life asks of them, so Utter asserts that the pursuit of acting can be of great benefit to people in all walks of life. "It's about getting your truth on, and someone else's, at the same time," he quips. "It's not just for actors anymore!"

Andrew Utter holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama's directing program. He recently appeared at the Magic Theater in the world premier of Chantal Bilodeau's play Pleasure and Pain. He has worked, in various capacities at Yale Repertory Theater, Manhattan Class Company, Syracuse Stage, and Mabou Mines New York, among others.


whatsthestory said...

Well, I love it. I have a summer drama camp, and 28 diverse Chicago Public School rising freshman high school kids are exploring these very issues. In less than a week, they will have developed a piece on change issues--working from the premise that clinging to one perspective inhibts change and stifles learning. Clinging to one identity makes spiritual evolution impossible--and mostly we simply EXCHANGE our last strongly held identity for a new one--held just as closely. The trick, as some great spiritual sage once said, is to have the boat in the water but not water in the boat. Acting offers the opportunity to "practice" a variety of identities--then let them go. The process lossens the edges around one's own, and in the spaces, wisdom has the chance to develop. Go Andrew!

flyte said...

Hi Andrew! That's a fantastic post. Absolutely agree. Acting is a wonderful way to practice choices and consequences, requires commitment, specific listening and all those other skills that, when lacking, lead to global disconnect. You rock! It's great to see you doing so well and facilitating powerful possibilities of transformation. Let's change the world! Or better, help it to change itself! - Jenny B.

Real Time Web Analytics Clicky Web Analytics