Ten top tips: Brita McVeigh
Dramaturg, coach and consultant Brita McVeigh shares her ten top tips to make the most of every performance opportunity.
Brita McVeigh works with actors, directors, writers and producers, as a dramaturg, coach and consultant. In less than a decade, McVeigh’s methodology has contributed to the development of more than 123 feature-film, short-film, television and theatre projects.
1.Remember you are human, at all times. Resist the urge to perfect yourself for an audition/meeting/job. Invite the broken, tender, shy, secretive parts of yourself into the room when you work.
2.Treat yourself kindly. This allows you to bring the broken parts of yourself into the work in a sustainable way.
3.Listen to yourself. It takes practice. When you are not working, focus on your ability to hear what is happening internally. Try listening to how your body is feeling at the bus stop, or on the train, or waiting for the doctor to arrive, or when you are cooking dinner for someone.
4.Create space for listening. Put your phone away and take your headphones off (this is not a radical or new suggestion). Deliberately unplugging can allow you to practise internal listening, when travelling or in an anonymous space, such as a waiting room, train station or supermarket. If you allow space for your sensory self to engage with your raw experience, you can feel, hear and see what is happening around you and pause to notice how you are feeling, in response.
5.Notice you’re an ever-changing river of feeling. You are a beautiful, mysterious, responsive, reactive, alive, mercurial vessel of feelings, moving through the electrical currents of your body and mind, changing faster and more unpredictably than your thoughts can ever accurately recognise.
6.Surrender to the above fact. Keep breathing. Feelings are currents of energy. Watch how trees allow the wind.
7.Listen to others. It takes practice. Work on your ability to notice what another person is feeling when you are not working. Anywhere. Everywhere. Allow yourself to be fiercely curious. Start with a stranger, in a supermarket, on a train, at the shop counter in front of you. How are they carrying what they feel in their body, as they move, as they speak?
8.Use your whole self when you listen. Can you listen to how another person feels with both your mind and body, integrated as one? For example, ask yourself: What is happening in my throat, my chest or the palms of my hands as I observe the body of that melancholy person across the park from me?
9.Dance, fiercely and often, in your own company. Embrace that you are a messy, foolish, wild animal as you dance. It is fierce medicine for the heart, body and soul. It also reminds your muscle memory not to tighten up and perfect yourself, for the work.
10.Again, remember that you are human. A human being is simply an animal in nature. That is what you are. You are a wild, curious, bruised, impulsive, frightened, fierce, secretive, shy and unchained animal who wears clothes and works with other animals. Be wild.