I first became involved with stage production as a teenager in about 1959 in Clacton where I did sound-effects for South Pacific. As I grew up, I moved around and joined other groups.
For many people the thought of going on stage scares them to death but the rewards of being involved in the Performing Arts are immense.
If you are going to take part and act for your local group for the first time try the following guide lines:
Becoming the Character
This is of vital importance: the credibility of the production depends on it. Good acting is learning to be the character, not just reciting the lines.
Any professional acting school will, amongst other things, teach you the three golden questions of character creation.
Who am I?
Failure to discuss character, let alone in depth, often leads to the failure of a production.
You discover who ‘you’ are by a close study of your lines, the physical reaction of the character you are saying them to and the lines that are delivered back to you.
What do I want?
Ask yourself, where does my role lead me? Where will I be at the end of the story?
The answer to this question lies in text analysis.
If you look at a page in a script and read it from the top – slowly – you will find in most cases that a certain word or line on that page changes the flow, mood or course of action or character. This may in turn change the tempo of the scene or ‘position’ of the character.
How do I get there?
Putting make up on you face and uttering words of three syllables or more does not make you an actor.
“Drama” means “To do”. You are not merely pretending to be someone else; here, you are actually being someone else!
Think for a moment about the character you are playing and ask yourself, ‘If I were him would I really say or do this, and if so why?’ Take this a stage further and consider the dialogue coming back to you to really get inside your role.
A great deal depends on a thorough knowledge and understanding of the script.
Put yourself into their life…Emotion is what makes an actor, so really understand what you are saying.
When we communicate with each other, the impact of what is being said comes from three different sources. Body language accounts for 55% , the voice quality for 38% and the voice for 7%. Think about this when you see, watch or meet people. It is very often the non-verbal part that the listener will pay attention to.
The Reward 😊
After weeks of rehearsals, stage construction, the making of props, costumes, painting, publicity and a hundred and one other things, your first night arrives.
While desperately trying to remember your opening line, you promise yourself a backstage job next time, if there is a next time.
Of course, there will be because with drama, once you are hooked – you will never shake it off.