Teaching Philosophy

You are the Teacher. I’m your assistant.

Every single person in this world is a Teacher. In this class, you are definitely the Teacher. You lead.

If everyone is a Teacher, then everyone is a student. And this fact could actually save the world.

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Artistic expression needs to be nurtured with truth and freedom.

In this class, every and any form and umbilical cord associated with social syndromes, forms of society, rules, prejudices, methods and techniques is dismissed, in order to provide space for the creation of a personalized form for the performer, based on their freedom of expression.

A non-form, a non-technique which is only interrelated to that which will arise, after the actor has understood in depth, the meaning of the words. The truth of the story, the narrative, this is what will set the actors free, making room for them to be a perfect ‘delivery woman/man, a vessel that knows nothing. And this is the magnificence of the actor’s actual status.

It is not about intelligence. It is about wisdom.

The annihilation of the ego shall set the basis for this work. Knowledge visits the actor, that needs to tell the truth every moment.

For society, humility is a sign of weakness. For Humanity, it is the basis of creation.

The actor will become the perfect medium to transfer the text from the two dimensions of the paper to at least the three dimensions of the story.

It is not about acting. It is about freedom of expression.

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Breaking the patterns.

Don’t try to realize the patterns. Be a good observer and recognize them. You’ve seen them before, you know them well, they have been there for quite a long period of time, repeating themselves, waiting for you to let them in or even letting themselves in, whenever you are most off-center and afraid, when overthinking has set you weak and insecure.

Recognize the patterns and break them.
Insecurity creates the need for a comfort zone. This is why an actor would rather be taught a method or a technique, in order to feel “safe” on stage. But, this is just another trap that keeps you away from your center, that weakens your instinct, that takes your true voice away.

Self-observation.

Some of the most recognizable characteristics of a pattern while acting, is the rhythm and the musicality of the speech, the choreography of the body, as well as, the rhythm of breathing. Feel the beat and break the pattern right at the moment it starts to feel familiar and puts you in a comfort zone, where you might feel safe, but you’re not moving forward. This applies to both, body and speech. Break the rhythm, break the pattern.

Insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”, said Einstein. So, if you find yourself trapped in a character, trying to express yourself through a certain form over and over again, not feeling free, not moving forward, break the pattern, break the rhythm. Breathe, pause, reset, feel the flow and continue. But, whatever you do, don’t stop breathing. 

Stay connected with the flow. Be the flow.

When you realize how a pattern works, you can explain life. And this is as specific as it can get.

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Freedom as the only Comfort Zone.  

Choose freedom. Trust your instinct. Ask your body, not your mind. The body can’t lie. Stay centered.

Choose freedom or freedom will eventually choose you.

Stay open to see the lesson.

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Rhythm, Harmony, Melody

The use of music as a tool to attain the largest understanding of speech in terms of Rhythm, Harmony, Melody.

Let’s work with speech and music in a parallel action. What happens when the music stops, having already generously given the actor its functions? The actor now becomes a mature creator, a maestro who conducts his/her own speech, her/his words and phrases, bringing in thousands of different versions of expressing themselves through truth and the flow of freedom. Organic speech, organic body.

Rhythm, Harmony, Melody are Nature’s gifts. Don’t try to hear them, just open your eyes and you shall see them, everywhere.

The music is now here to remind to the rhetoric all the functions that spoken word has always had – rhythm, harmony, melody.

Musicality pre-existing in words. Let it be revealed. Hear the flow. Be the flow.
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Become Time.
Understanding the rhythm as an axis, as a constant, as the ‘in relation to’, as the here and now. After the actors understand time, after they become acquainted with the rhythm suggested by the here and now, then they can become time.

Time was before, and will be after. Feel the flow and go with it.
Together. Not faster, not slower. Synchronized. With time.
Now, stop going with the flow. Be the flow.

Be friends with yourself. Be friends with Time.
Stay open. Stay centered.

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Don’t be desperate for good moments.

When a moment of pure truth comes, then freedom is where you’re at – expressing through words and body movements in such a way that you become the flow.

Then is the moment one has to prove freedom by letting it go. You could never be free by capturing freedom. That would be odd. Freedom is demolished, if captured. It’s like giving birth to a child and then keeping the child inside the house for ever, in order to be sure she/he is going to be safe and forever yours.

If you’re afraid you might lose it, then fear is winning.

Human existence balances between the fear of loneliness (rejection, failure and so on) and the possibility of freedom.

Freedom is a 100% choice. It’s complete. It’s real. You wouldn’t be able to deal with it partially or for a certain amount of time.

Choose freedom, or eventually freedom will choose you.

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Trust yourself, trust Time.

Do not surrender to given directions, just trust your best Teacher, your body. The only source of your power is you. Search deep, find and reveal whatever it is that does not let you live in the moment, the here and now.

Be friends with yourself. Be friends with Time.

Trust yourself, trust Time. Be Time.
Now let’s see who else you can trust.

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Don’t forget to breathe.
Sound as a result of the air. Air = sound, speech.
Speech as a need to exhale words, speech as a sigh.

Breathe in air, exhale words.

In the beginning there was the air and then there was speech. The most minute amount of air is sufficient to produce sound. If there is no air, there is no sound.

Don’t push the words out. Let the air do the job. You only need to breathe in.
Then, exhale your words.

Breathe and, by the way, speak.
Speak as you breathe. Don’t breathe as you speak.

Don’t try to pronounce the words. Exhale them.

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All you need is already there. All you have to do is deliver.

The words that are already written, sprout from the paper and are then spoken by the actor. All that the actor needs to know, is on the paper, already written. Putative links, time adverbs, adjectives, question marks, negations, commas, periods, exclamation points. The vowels and consonants. They’re all there. The only action the actor needs to do, is an accurate delivery – to transfer what is written, to the public. To tell the story. Truthfully. Literally. As it is written.

The actor can link the Old and the New, bringing the already written text – even in antiquity – into the here and now.

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The speech and the body as one instrument. One source of infinite manifestations of expression.

Speak with a voice that knows everything, in a body that knows nothing. Choose vulnerability. Acting is not about being strong and sure, but most probably it is about being vulnerable and let your truth reveal moment by moment. Don’t be programmed, be real.

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Don’t look for the result. Focus on the exercise. 

The ‘result’ is not something to search for during the rehearsal, on the stage or even in the performance.

What will be, will result from the truth and only the truth, from the unconditional involvement of the actor with the telling of the story. All that the actor should care about is the exercise, the functions, not the result.

Looking for the result sounds like the biggest trap.

Don’t fall in the trap of pre-deciding the mood or the attitude, describing the feelings and the sentimental and psychological layers of the character. Don’t worry about the feelings. Feelings cannot be pre-decided, regardless.

Interact with the here and now.

Just follow the words and the needs created by the words themselves, and you have it all.  Deliver.

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A mistake is a gift.

Dare to make mistakes, many mistakes, as many as you can.
If the was no mistake, there would be no evolution for Humanity.

“A mistake is the fastest way to proceed.N. Lygeros

Evolution as a result of mistakes.

A mistake in society is a reason for punishment. A mistake in Humanity is one step before a lesson is to be learnt. A step before evolution. Actually, let’s say that mistake is part of the evolution, already.

Make mistakes and don’t even try to correct them during the exercise. Let them be. Let them teach you the lesson.

You can choose to be the “best student” today or a wise teacher tomorrow.

Trying to prove that you are a “good student” is just another pattern – a strong one, too. Don’t worry about being right. Focus on the exercise, not the result. Stay open to see the lesson.

Let the mistakes happen, leave space for them to show you the way, to reveal the need.

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Let yourself teach you. You are the best Teacher of yourself. Self-observation may point and reveal whatever your stage presence needs to borrow from your real presence. What would you like borrow from your life? Which functions? What is it that you mostly miss on stage?

Art and life as one channel.

Stay open. Let the truth reveal.

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Acting is not about being smart. It’s about re-acting.

Let the body show you the way. Quit overthinking, stop confusing your centered self. Free the spirit. Believe in your voice. Believe in your instincts. Dance.

The body cannot lie.

Modern Western societies suffer from thinking too much. Overthinking becomes an obstacle between the delivering body – the free body – and the audience.

Do nothing. Let the body show you the way. The actors feel that they have to do “something”, be “someone”, on stage. Actors often “complain” that once they have achieved to speak through freedom, they felt as if they were not doing much or even that they were doing nothing. This is exactly the point! Being is reacting to the moment, to life. Reacting is being. Being without having to do anything. Empty is full. Nothing is everything. 

Do nothing. Let the intelligence of the body lead you. Deliver.

Doing nothing is giving space for the needs to show you the way. Make space for knowledge to visit you every moment. Be empty, be nothing. Trying to be smart, you might lose the chance to be wise.

Stay open. Trust the body. The body cannot lie.

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The protagonist is the work itself, not the actor. The protagonist is the team, not the individual.

The performance as a result of teamwork.

The annihilation of the ego shall set the basis for this work. Knowledge visits the actor, that needs to tell the truth every moment.

For society, humility is a sign of weakness. For Humanity, it is the basis of creation.

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The dialogue within the monologue is unveiled.
A monologue is still a dialogue.

There are no monologues. Everything is a dialogue.

Stay open for the feed-back. Don’t get ready to react, as reacting can’t support the term “ready”. Stay open and you will react.

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Everything is feedback. There is no such thing as “my first line” or “I start speaking first”. Everything is a continuum. Time was before and will be after.

Ask the questions to get the answers. What has been written on the paper is ‘the answers’. Ask a question for every line of your text, for every ‘answer’ you need to deliver. Attach your speech to the need that a question creates – the need for an answer. Don’t bring up lines that come out of your mouth as announcements, as words and phrases that have no roots, that there was never a need for them to be expressed and spoken out. Speak because there is a question to be answered, so that your words are answers to a request.

There are no wrong answers, only wrong questions.

Answering to the right question, is the only possible way to give the right answer. Whenever you feel off centered, you’ve probably answered to the wrong question.

“Would you like a smoothie with bananas or strawberries?” You can answer anything and then ask yourself if you were even hungry enough to answer this question. Society makes questions like those all the time. Don’t answer to the wrong question. There is no chance you’ll be giving the right answer.

Feed-back is re-action. Listen to the action – answer through your real needs. Otherwise, you’re lying. You just gave an answer, as you felt that you had to give something back.
Be the flow and you won’t have to worry about all this ever again. Trust Time, trust yourself. You are Time.

Stay open.

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Don’t pause life to begin acting. 

There are no starting points. Just a continuum called “the flow”.

Feel the flow and join. Then, be the flow.

Even if you stop speaking, even if you stop moving, Time will keep going forward. As you start to speak, you just join time. Think of ‘start’/‘action’/‘go’, as ‘continue’.

Whatever you do, don’t stop breathing. The only way for the flow to stop for someone, is when one stops breathing.

Life and on stage existence as one channel.

Let’s liberate the story and allow the needs to become the basis of the narrative again. Let’s disengage from the specific perception of forms that emerged in the theater through artificial needs. Let’s reconnect cinema and theater with life.

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Be online

First listen, then speak.
This is the way to be online and react with truth.

First see, then act.
This is the way to be online and react with truth.
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The bad liar, the good liar and the one who tells the truth.
Which one do you want to be?
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The era, which is progressing faster than ever, invites us not to draw any other conclusions, but to stay open for all the updates and upgrades it has to propose to us every second.

We live in the era of the creators. The actor as a creator.
Nonetheless, the Nature of Humanity and every Human being is to create.

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There is nothing between you and your vision.

Work hard for your vision. It may not happen tomorrow, but you shouldn’t lose one day of training, daring, making mistakes, trying to serve your vision and be true to yourself. And by the way, it may actually happen tomorrow.

Labros Filippou
Teacher of Drama and Stage Performance

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