Monday, October 15, 2012

Actor Tip: Using Cohen's GOTE to Hack a Scene!

So you're in rehearsal for your next play and your scenes are just DRAGGING! The Director is pulling his hair out and you and your scene partners don't know what to do. Use this cheat sheet to help you out.  It's pulled from Robert Cohen's Acting One and while most of it seems like common sense finding actions in your character work that aligns to these four sections will liven your scene up. I use it every time I'm onstage and it really helps me.


  • GOAL: What is my character's goal in this scene? In his life? This section uses action verbs. (i.e. to create, to destroy, to empower, etc.) Every action that your character does in the story will spring from what he wants.

  • OBSTACLE: What is keeping me from reaching that goal? This almost always refers to another character on stage doing something to your character. When in doubt when you look at the script just look for where your character is arguing or fighting with someone else. Where there's conflict there are two people with two different goals!

  • TACTIC: What am I going to do to overcome these obstacles? This means that there is something in the script or a way that you say a line something that you do to counteract what the other character is doing to you. Tactics move the character along.

  • EXPECTATION: What does my character expect to happen when he reaches his goal? After my character tried each tactic and met every obstacle did he get what he expected? Acting the difference between what a character expected to happen and what he really got is what makes drama more realistic and tight.
Does anyone have anymore tips that they think would be useful? Do you have any questions about how actors do what they do? Leave a comment below!

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