By Nate Hromalik
I love acting more than anything else in the world. The only thing I know for sure in my life is my total passion for every aspect of performing art: from the first time my eyes undress the words in the script, through using personal experiences to create the physicality and psychology of a character, to the moment the curtain rises and for a period of a few hours, I am completely focused on expressing my emotions in the moment.
That feeling of being “in the moment” that actors often talk about is exactly what I love most in acting.
In order to captivate audiences, performances only show the most interesting moments of characters’ lives: while Hamlet battles with the decision to avenge his father, the audience never watches him brushing his teeth.
Therefore, as characters on stage love and lose, rejoice and despair, live and die, the actors portraying these characters must be one hundred percent committed to their actions. This commitment only works if they are totally void of themselves and fully present in the skins of their characters, reacting to everything that happens “in the moment.”
That escape from myself into another character is what I find so beautiful about acting. I’m not always comfortable being myself, to the point where I have no idea who I am or how to be.
Thus, acting is the best way I know how to express myself—by being as far from myself as possible.
However, while being in the moment requires loss of self, developing a character necessitates using personal experiences to elicit real, honest emotions while acting “in the moment.”
That use of real world experience allows me to draw on everything in my 18 years of life.
Love. The warmth of a girl who I held in my arms during countless movies, sunsets, and kisses.
Joy. The laughter of friends who I high-fived with during countless games, meals, and parties.
Pain. The pain of my close family member and personal hero’s struggles with alcohol. The pain of my parents’ separation. The pain of my trip to Haiti, where I held and fed a sick baby, who died some 20 minutes later.
These experiences, which can make me smile, laugh, and cry, are part of a large stream of complicated mixed emotions, all of which I can use to apply to universally similar situations within performances.
While being “in the moment” allows me to escape myself, it also allows me to become profoundly in touch with some of my deepest feelings. I am a private person who rarely shares what I really feel with other people; rather, I prefer allowing those feelings to bottle up and explode during performances.
While my love for expressing myself through performing is fierce, acting is also the only thing I have ever been really good at. I studied in Advanced Placement and honors classes but always received mediocre grades. I played on high school sports teams but always rode the bench. I volunteered with community service organizations but rarely felt I made a difference.
Yet the one place where I was always the best, where I always worked the hardest, where I always felt at home, was performing onstage. While my other endeavors allowed me to see other people in their element, acting allows me to be in mine.
That is why I will follow my dreams of becoming an actor and try to always live “in the moment.”