” At 11, she began attending a full day of acting classes on Saturdays. “I remember the first time that I drank out of an imaginary coffee cup,” she says, closing her eyes. “That’s the very first thing they teach you. I can feel the rain, too, when it’s not raining.” Her lids pop open. “I don’t know if this is too much for your magazine, but I can actually mentally give myself an orgasm.” She hisses a little, like one of the deviant vampires in True Blood. “You know, sense memory is quite powerful.”
A performer's job is to "feel on cue." They walk into an audition, say hello, then sit down to cry over our imaginary mother's death. Most actors would say the do this through emotional recall. But it's through sense memory that they actually experience emotional recall. Everything they perceive, interpret, and ultimately feel in life is filtered through our five senses, and stored in our subconscious with sense memory.
The conventional use of sense memory helps actors create physical conditions — for example, the feeling of a hot day, a bad headache, or a broken leg. But decades ago psychiatrists discovered an "emotional release object," which can release an entire emotional event. After many years of acting and teaching, I have developed a method that enables actors to discover and use their emotional release objects on demand. The actor revisits one simple image, a sense memory — the sound of a ticking clock in a hospital, the feeling of a wire hanger hitting one's face — and immediately begins to sob, laugh, or even shake with fear. It's a powerful emotional acting tool when mastered.