Learning how to CONNECT with the audience through the text of the play, the action of the words and the conflict of the characters.
To learn how to stop turning your speeches into a COMPETITION and give the other actors their moment on stage.
Words have power and great meaning… but only if you know how to use and hear them.
To CONNECT you have to:
Have the grand ability to ‘hook’ the audience… by using props, humor and stories, varying the pace, use body language, involving the audience in the conversation and listening to their reactions. We aren’t there to lecture. We are there to build a relationship.
Great actors has a clear structure… you shouldn’t just ramble on. Don’t just say your your lines without meaning. Understand what your character is saying. You must know your character through and through. Their back story (where they are from, how they grew-up, their favorite toys, food, family, pet, schooling. We need to make their life a really one.) Think about all the things that are a part of your back stories. All the thing that make you… YOU! That is what you need for your character. CONSTRUCT your character’s life. Having all that rich history for you to reach back into will makes it feel real to you and then to your audience, it becomes a living persona.
Now remember your job isn’t to steal the spotlight from the rest of the cast and show. You (everyone involved) all work together to entertain. All the actors, all the characters in the play are important to the experiences. We all make a rememberable experiences on stage. We each other and the audience to build those brilliant moments of creativity.
COMPETITION in life is the name of the game everywhere we go out there in this modern world. We all want to control the conversation around us. We normally are just waiting for a chance to speak, to breaking in on that other person’s speech and give our two cents. We aren’t listening most times to their content, we’re listening for when they will take a breath so we can step in… It would seem our whole purpose is to take over the conversation.
But, as actors we must become “Active Listener,” we need to truly hear what other characters are saying. We don’t lead by taking over the conversation, we share control of the conversation by steering it along a path that helps the audience find out about the characters on stage.
Never act like your listening… truly listen with all your heart and soul.
The next thing about listening is to be able to hear your voice. Loud spaces make it hard to hear ourselves, we can’t be good communicators if we don’t hear our voices. We’ll be off pitch, to soft or even to loud and scare the audience. It can get so loud in some places that you can’t even hear yourself think. Make sure you can hear and be heard.
We need to study our body language and understand how the power of our voice can change with how we stand, sit, turn and get caught up in the emotion of the moments. Never loss control of your body and voice on stage… it’s a tool that needs to be kept fine tuned and real to be used.
*Here I’m living the wonderful role of Orgon in Tartuffe by Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (better known as Molière)Translated by Christopher Hampton. The play: Before the action of the play, Tartuffe arrives at Orgon’s house as a mere vagrant. He masquerades as a religious man and convinces the master of the house (Orgon) to stay as a guest indefinitely. Orgon begins to adhere to Tartuffe’s every whim, believing that Tartuffe is leading them on the pathway to heaven. Little does Orgon realize, Tartuffe is actually scheming to steal away Orgon’s home, Orgon’s daughter’s hand in marriage, and the fidelity of Orgon’s wife. Great fun to play!