How often have you instinctively known that you should trust your gut instinct? Sometimes our head rules – and then you reflect knowing that your instinct told you better in the first place. It’s the same in acting. Actors get lost in their heads and get disconnected from their body, because they are trying to ‘work it out’ or cloud organic spontaneity with psychological reasoning – separating the thought / feeling / action centres.
But exploration of emotion need not be a disruption or an emotional upheaval for the actor, as the professor of theatre and the eminent scholar Rhonda Blair states: ‘Calmness or mild irritation is as much an emotional state as rage or excitement’.
‘The gut’s brain, known as the Enteric nervous system [ENS] is located in the sheaths of tissue lining of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and colon. Considered a single entity, it is a network of neurons, neurotransmitters, and proteins that zap messages between neurons, support cells like those found in the brain proper and a complex circuitry that enables it to act independently, learn, remember, and as the saying goes, produce gut feelings’.
The figures above show the vagus nerve’s spread – its extensive connection linking with the major organs, the cranial brain stem and spinal cord are the neuron pathways that fire the substance of emotions.