Tuesday, March 4, 2014

4 Acting Tips I never found in Books

I don't think there has been a year gone by that I haven't been acting in a show. I think that acting, next to building a set, is one of the best and most networking activities available to a theater person. People remember you when you've spent 4 weeks working on a show with them. I've had acting training and when you sit around with fellow actors and work on a show with people you never cease to get extra tips from them here are a few of my favorites.

Publicity photo for Last Hope for Twenty Miles

  • Learn your lines backwards: A lot of people will start from their very first highlighted line in the script and start memorizing from there. The problem is when you go up on a line you have to fall back to the last on that you remember, which is the last thing you said. This causes a lot of hemming and hawing onstage. But try starting from your last line ever in the play and going backwards. This way you always know where you're headed when you go up on a line and you can keep moving forward onstage.
  • A Character never lies unless it's tied to action: In real life we often make things up, tell half truths, and blatantly perjure on occasion. But as an actor you need to use the text as your clues to how create this character properly. It's very easy to find a hard piece of text and just say, "oh well he's lying". A lie is an action not a word. Assume that every word the playwright put on the page is there for a reason nad that your character is saying it honestly.
  • Look for the sex: We often don't think about everything we do in our life is centered around sex. In your life we are very aware about how people look and how close they are to us and what we would like to do with them. As a man if a woman I don't know is standing right beside me I'm very aware if I think she's sexually active, I'm very aware if she takes an interest in me, and I'm very aware that if she knew I was that interested I'd be embarrassed. But sometimes we stand on stage and think our characters walk around like nuns. Remember that your characters are sexual beings. 
  • Your characters see as they are: Everyone has little filters that they see the world through. You can often start judging your characters when you the Christian try playing an atheist, or he the ablebodied plays the wheelchair bound, without trying to see the world through the character's eyes. The four lenses are physical, social, psychological, moral. How does your character see through those lenses?
    Film Still from Dead Dog Like Me

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