I must be in actor hell. Well, maybe not that bad. But, seriously, sometimes the things we actors do!
Here’s the deal. I work from time-to-time offstage in live training simulations for businesses. Many companies want to train their employees in a variety of different situations that are as close to a real-life experience as they can get while they maintain a safe environment. So that’s where actors come in. We are hired to improv within a set of parameters given to us by the training program. Those parameters include understanding the background, experience and skills of the specific role we are being asked to step into – customer, client, colleague, etc.
For example, I just had to convincingly portray a cardiac surgeon. Now do you think I was pre-Med in college? Not on your life! Can you say HOMEWORK and STUDY, STUDY, STUDY? Sure, they give you some very basic facts pertinent to their specific training “scene.” But the participant trainees come into the programs with all kinds of varied backgrounds and knowledge. And following Murphy’s Law you’re likely to run into, “Oh, my father was a cardiac surgeon ….” or “What a coincidence! I was pre-Med before I decided to get my MBA.” Since it is truly improv, we have to expect the unexpected.
Don’t worry! My scene as a cardiac surgeon was a conversation NOT an operation. But I did have to learn and understand the steps necessary to do heart transplant surgery – yes heart tranplant surgery [at least it wasn’t brain surgery, right?]. Ha!
By the way, this diagram makes the procedure look much simpler than it is!