Bronwen Marsden - ActorTuesday, March 20, 2012
My Mother's Red Shawl - El Rebozo Colorado
Bronwen Marsden - Actor
Me and my (Red) Face
This has given me all kinds of grief. In early high school, it meant classmates could accuse me of having crushes on people I'd never once considered attractive, and have those accusations confirmed by my physiognomy. Nowadays, it leads people to believe I have rather Victorian sensibilities. Sometimes people like to make a party game out of it: "Who can make Bronwen blush first?"
It's an irritating and easily misinterpreted window to my heart.
For a long time, I didn't really know when I was blushing. Then, I became familiar with the sensation, but the awareness led to a deepening of the crimson. Now, though, I am starting to get a better handle on my reddening: I know when it's happening, I know what triggers it, and I have a method for restoring my natural colour a bit more quickly.
But I've begun to wonder: why aren't actors expected to flush on command? After all, "Can you cry on cue?" is almost the most-asked question by non-actors (second only to "How did you memorise all those lines?"). Crying at will isn't the most difficult part of acting by a long shot, but it is a neat trick, and most actors have a way of getting to it. So why not blushing? It's a physiological reaction, like crying. Strong emotion brings it up, like crying. It has certain triggers, like crying. Can it not, then, be accessed by the same sort of mechanism? Surely someone, somewhere, has worked out a way to do it. I think even I could, if I put a bit of effort into it.
As an actor, being able to display the inner workings of my mind and my emotions is prized. Where once I wished I could hide everything behind a smile, I now actively seek truthful expressions of my inner self. And, for me, that includes the reddening of my face.
But the question I have is, if I were to master this part of my physiology, would anyone even notice? Or would it be invisible on stage, and too red for HD cameras? Would it be prized by directors? Or despised by makeup artists?
Lauren Elizabeth Stewart