“Before we begin to study, let us determine what it is we want to learn. We shall not say that theater is a school. No, the theater is entertainment. “- Constantin Stanislavski
Think about your favorite performances by actors. What is the one thing that makes them stand out?
It’s the fact that you feel like you know them personally. You believe what you see to such a degree that you recognize them. They remind you of yourself or your mother, your sister, the scary guy on the street corner, the local cop, or your nosey neighbor. They aren’t types but they are real people. You believe you are seeing real people living, rather then pretending. But how do you get yourself to that real state? Here’s a fun acting exercise you can help you do just that! “Make a movie of your life.”
1. Do real things you do in real life. Make a list of things you do in any given day and pick one activity from that list. It can be folding laundry, cleaning your room, feeding your pet, or packing your bag to go to school. Observe yourself doing that activity. Don’t change anything you do. Simply do it, and try to remember the details and the order of it.
2. Rehearse the same activity alone in your room or in a rehearsal hall. Bring all the real props from your life and simply repeat the activity as exact as possible. Practice this until it becomes easy and effortless.
3. Next, add a monologue. It can be Shakespeare, a movie monologue from a favorite film, television show or a play that you know. See if you can do the monologue and the activity at the same time.
4. Now forget the monologue for a moment and think of a story line. This story line does not have to be anything from your life. It can be imaginary or real. (By the way, when you create with real-life, do not let teachers or directors know what you use. It’s private.) That said here are some imaginary scenarios you can try. Feel free to add your own.
You are doing the activity after getting the news that a car hit your pet.
You are doing the activity after getting the news that you were cast in a major motion picture.
You were expelled from your school.
Your parents are fighting in the other room.
Your Mother just left your Dad.
You Dad just returned from overseas where he was serving in the military.
You just broke up with someone.
There was a huge disaster and the power is out in your area and you are doing the activity in the dark.
You just got out of the hospital.
You are doing the activity after a good day or bad day from your life. (These would be real life)
5. Prepare the scenario. Visually see the story line happening to you! Add active details to see you living it. With your eyes closed watch the movie and you are the star of the movie re-living it. Make the story as detailed as possible. Once you feel the story in your gut, you are ready.
6. Start doing the activity from earlier. Do not think of any emotions, just try and do the activity. Use all the real props from before and see if it changes your mood.
7. Finally, add the script. If you want to talk to yourself, do so. If you want to use the monologue from before, do that. The important thing is that you do some action and see what happens.
If you follow the guidelines, The activity that you do will suddenly bring you effortlessly into the scene.
Feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about this exercise.