We’ve looked at how best to approach a theatre production from the director’s perspective, but it helps to also consider it from the actor’s point of view.
Theatre acting is, many will agree, one of the most challenging, but also one of the most rewarding undertakings. It requires an unparalleled level of commitment and dedication, while also putting the actor into an extremely vulnerable position.
A single mistake can mean an unbearably awkward situation, throwing the entire production into disarray. Likewise, learning booklets of lines is also a daunting task.
But, with focus put on the correct aspects of theatre acting, and an understanding of what makes theatre so appealing, will help give a stellar performance.
A Team Effort
It need not be said that, unless it is a one person production you’re dealing with, actors must work as a team. If you are acting opposite others, getting to know them, and interacting with them, should be a primary priority. So called “chemistry” is a core component of every production, and it will not exist if you aren’t friendly with your fellow performers.
Though, this doesn’t mean you necessarily have to start spending every moment of every day together, to the point that you can’t get a moment alone to even engage in a bit of AFL premiership betting. What it does mean is that you get comfortable talking, joking, and interacting with one another. You and your team should also, naturally, rehearse every moment of time spent on stage together as many times as the rehearsal schedule will allow.
Each shared scene should become natural, to the point that you all understand the natural flow, and are able to complete the performance without stumbling.
What happens if you do stumble? What happens if someone forgets a line? Improvise! If you and your fellow performers know each scene well, it is possible to improvise the entire thing, as long as you still get where you need to be. This is what improvising is all about, and it is an essential weapon in an actor’s arsenal.
Again; if you know your team well, and respect one another, it won’t be a problem. Practice improvising each scene from start to finish, making up the lines as you go. You will be glad you did, if a line is forgotten mid performance.
Learning what can often be dozens, or even hundreds of lines, isn’t easy. In fact; it is a monumental challenge. But here is the secret; once you know the scenes, what occurs in them, where they start, and where they finish, the line learning comes naturally.
Likewise; when emotions are attached to each line, and you remember where these moments are supposed to happen, lines stop being lines, and start becoming dialogue. Remembering dialogue is easy, parrot learning lines is a pain.
With all this being said, remember the golden rule that hangs over all theatre; it is supposed to be fun, not a mountain to be conquered. Enjoy yourself, and it will happen naturally.