Tips: Acting for 711

The playwright has put your play on paper. The director is putting you in the space. You put the play on the stage for all to see. Here’s some tips for actors to consider. The judges may use these to assist in evaluating your performance.

  1. No divas. The old saying “There are no small parts, only small actors” holds especially true in the 711 Theatre Project. The whole process hinges upon everyone working together as a team or family, that’s within the troupes and between the troupes. There are two acting awards for each night: one for ensemble and one for individual. A troupe could win both. Don’t sacrifice on one to attempt to get the other – you could end up with neither. Balance.
  2. Is your characterization convincing, believably spontaneous and consistent throughout? Are you in the moment “being” and not just “acting”? Good performances requires reacting as much, if not more, than acting – even when you are not the focus of a moment, there will be eyes upon you, make sure you stay in the scene and not drift off to your own plane of existence.
  3. Are you portraying your character true to the script and production style? And remember – you don’t add anything in performance that wasn’t rehearsed with the cast prior.
  4. Are you emotions sustaining the mood … are you aware of the roller coaster buildup and drop off of your emotions. You can’t be happy one second and morose immediately after unless there is an impetus and the audience sees the emotion shift upon you. Unless directed so – emotions are not an on/off switch, but more like a dimmer knob. Sometimes it changes slowly, sometimes it changes rapidly – but rarely does it just pop into existence.
  5. Remember to project. Once the audience is in the seats they will absorb sound that you won’t experience while rehearsing. Make sure to project, articulate and direct your voice to the back wall. If it is raining outside – we could hear the din of raindrops in the theatre on the roof. Sometimes you might hear a train whistle. Sometimes a harley davidson motorcycle revving. These aren’t added ambiance we program in – these are sounds occurring outside. Adjust your tone and volume to the environment.
  6. Is your vocal delivery character appropriate (age, region, dialect, emotion, etc)? If there is an accent being considered for your character – can you be consistent with it? Are you sure of your accent? If not – you and your director may want to go for something different. Beware the monotony – inflection, energy can help drive your performance home.
  7. Act. Acting. Action. What’s your body doing while you are on stage? Good gestures, is your movement or other business properly motivated? Make sure it is clear, varied, appropriate.
  8. Are you sure of the relationship your character has with the others? Consistent? Convincing? Are you properly expressing that relationship in your actions and words?
  9. Are you the one who will state the required line or use the required prop? Make sure, yourself, that you have the exact words correct. The playwright should have written it properly and the director should be correcting you if you are wrong – but check to be sure on your own, too! We’ve seen instances where they playwright did make an error in the line, the director missed it and the actor performed it wrong. Had someone verified just once, it would have been corrected.
  10. You may have an average script to work with … you might have a great script. Almost anyone can look good with a great script – but it takes teamwork and persistence to take an average script and make the performance remarkable. When you perform – don’t just execute the script … elevate it.

Trust all the performers on your team. Trust your playwright. Trust your director. Trust us. Trust yourself. All of the above is moot if you don’t remember to trust.