Thursday, 27 October 2011

Acting is easier than you might think

The Words of Wisdom this week are Acting is easier than you might think - but you can go on learning about it all your life.

How so? Well, acting is the most accessible of the arts. It's a development of play, which is how we learn from a very early age, imitating the behaviour of others. It comes into our lives automatically, before we even know it. It's for that reason that improvisation, drama based on life rather than literature, is the best grounding for a would be actor's training..

Other arts, painting or playing a musical instrument, require more development and do not come so easily. Writing, in particular, demands plenty of life experience.

So what is acting? It means going into character, pretending to be someone you're not, feeling and speaking like someone else. And that's it.

Well, it's not quite as simple as that. Acting may be easy but that doesn't mean that everyone does it well. When people act badly it's generally for one of two reasons. Either there's a lack of confidence, so that they stiffen up and become wooden, or else they may be trying to impose a theory on what should be a natural process. They're acting in their head but not in their heart.

And you can go on learning about it all your life. You can develop your technique and knowledge of how human beings express themselves in speech and body language. You can explore and experiment and this can go on for ever.

But if you're an actor you still have to learn the script and turn up on time.