Author and Creator of Seven Pillars Acting
Business Entrepreneur, Acting Professor and Coach
Sonya recently joined the faculty at Louisiana State University as a professor of acting and Head of Undergraduate Performance. Sonya forged her career in film, television, and theatre, and has dedicated her focus to advancing the way actors train. Beyond coaching her students, she leads the certification program for her Seven Pillars Acting methodology, which has been implemented at several universities and colleges across the country.
From the Book...
Seven Pillars Acting by Sonya Cooke
You know you are on the right path when your text and actions are a necessary effect of the cause. When you cannot help but to say the line! As physics teaches us, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The energy of your action comes in equal proportion to what you are responding to; you are reacting.
In our own lives, we do not expend effort to experience or feel anything. Things just happen! And it’s the same for the characters in the story. They are responding to stimuli and aiming for the happy ending they envision at the end of their personal story.
I have heard actors say, “I just can’t get out of my head,” a version of self-awareness that inhibits the actor’s ability to be present to the story at hand. Delving deep into Present Circumstances is the total antidote to this hapless self-absorption. To do this, we look through the lens of the character who cannot see himself, but rather sees a vast world of circumstance happening tohim and forcing his hand to act.
Acting, so often, is a process of unlearning what you already know as the actor. Setting up what you don’t know is just as useful as setting up what you do know.
The circumstances and environment dictate the character. All the actor has to do is assume the circumstances and the character's life happens on its own.
Start Your Journey
Teaching the Seven Pillars for the past 4 years has been a true honor and has given me so much insight into my own craft as an actor as well.
The Seven Pillars are simple, easy to understand, and essential for every actor. It's acting made easy because it gives you a roadmap to follow, a strategy for approaching any role.
Sonya caters to your needs, without you having to ask. We are all different, and Sonya has found a way to reach each of us in our own way.
Having taught the 7 Pillars Technique for over two years, I have found that the structured, yet creative, technique enables students to command a strong sense of ownership over their process, from which they can reliably build honest and engaging performances.