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Acting Can Save the World!

Acting Teacher Speaks to Acting as a Road to Spiritual Development for Everyone

The failures of the world, at many levels, stem from the inability of people to step back from their own point of view and look momentarily at a situation from the point of view of another. Acting challenges people to do precisely that, argues acting teacher, actor, director and Yale Drama School alum Andrew Wood. To play a role is, first and foremost, Utter says, to be able to see and connect with why a character finds it necessary to do what it is he or she actually does. Utter found this notion to be so compelling that he named his San Francisco acting studio the Andrew Wood Acting Studio (, necessity being, according to Plato, the mother of invention. Utter will be speaking at 7:30 on Monday, September 10th at Ft Mason, room D100, on the distinctive benefits of acting as a spiritual path. The talk is free and open to the public.

In addition to asking people to be able to change perspective, acting challenges practitioners to develop many other qualities and abilities widely associated with spiritual life: transformation, courage, adaptation, absorption, stamina, possibility, vitality, joie de vivre, vulnerability, and imagination. Acting is also unique in that it depends on both introversion and extroversion: actors have to be able to look inward to get at what makes people tick, but they also have to be able to manifest outwardly what they learn by looking inwards. These faculties are invaluable to everyone, no matter what their daily life asks of them, so Utter asserts that the pursuit of acting can be of great benefit to people in all walks of life. “It’s about getting your truth on, and someone else’s, at the same time,” he quips. “It’s not just for actors anymore!”

Andrew Wood holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama’s directing program. He recently appeared at the Magic Theater in the world premier of Chantal Bilodeau’s play Pleasure and Pain. He has worked, in various capacities at Yale Repertory Theater, Manhattan Class Company, Syracuse Stage, and Mabou Mines New York, among others.