Human beings are forever in action and knowing how to work as an actor is half the battle. In this article, I will recommend ways to create a playing space at home that will help you feel inspired, creative and confident.
It’s always very exciting to perform on a big Broadway size stage, or on a Hollywood studio lot. But for now that is put on hold as actors are going through some down time. As artists, we all need down time to work on scripts, contemplate characters, make choices, discover personal similarities between the character and ourselves, etc. But what about the rehearsing? How can we rehearse at home?
I was lucky when I was a child actor. My parents had a basement that I transformed into a theatre, complete with clamp on spots, a stereo system, homemade curtains and a few painted “sheets” that were flats. Behind the sheets was a mirror where I could practice dancing. . It seems a bit funny now, but looking back, I realize that it was an escape from the world I was living in. But it was a great place to rehearse.
Today, I kind of laugh at myself because the theater spaces of The Young Actor’s Studio has become a similar childhood place that I use when I work out as a professional actor. This includes audition preparation, rehearsals, self tapes, and practicing the acting exercises that I teach. I’m very lucky to have a space. Our acting classes provide the same thing for the kids we teach. But how do you do this at home?
Here are some tips on how you can turn your home into the excitement of a theater or studio.
1.The biggest challenge we face when working from home is that home is for relaxing, unwinding, eating, and watching TV. And acting is a highly charged activity. Therefore, make a space for it. Clear an area to work. Make sure you have a couple feet in all directions to work. Move couches and furniture to the sides if you can.
2. Let your parents know that your space is to practice and mess up and try things without judgement.
As actors you are experimenting, trying new things, putting on different voices, making noise, practicing dialects, recalling emotional memories and you need a safe place. This place can be a section of your room or in the garage, the basement, the laundry room or a guest house. It’s important that only your acting coach or directors are able to lead you as you practice your on-line classes. Actors need to feel safe and unjudged in order to create remarkable work.
3. Make the space special.
It doesn’t take much. Remember a theater is a blank space with spotlights and seating. It’s not much but there is always a feeling that something wonderful is about to happen. You need that feeling when you work. So, take a reading lamp and face it towards the playing area and use it as a spotlight. If you are feeling ambitious, order some colored spotlights and a few white floods with clamps to create light for yourself. Order some dimmers for nighttime scenes. Buy a blue flood for moonlight. Light creates a magic feel.
4. Make a set.
Keep it easy. A few folding chairs together makes a couch. Angle your set in a way that it’s visible. Use folding chairs and no couches or easy chairs. We need your energy.
5. Set up a camera.
If you are taking an on-line dance class, you want to set the computer or camera farther away. Use a tripod with your cell phone that frames the space.
6. Make sure you are lit and can be heard.
Amazon has some great microphones that clip to your clothes. Zoom the camera up to chest level when filming auditions.
7. View that space as if it’s a big Broadway stage.
There is an excitement that is about to happen. Bring energy. If you need to work out physically to have energy before your practice or rehearsal, do so.
In closing, the space you have for acting should inspire you. It’s like your very own tree fort you built as a kid. It’s that place you go to when you want to escape into the imaginary. And more important, know that you are important. You are unique, and no one can act like you because of this. Then practice.
Next week we will look at some exciting exercises that you can create from your very own room that will help you in your growth as an actor and in your career!
Stay healthy and safe and create with all the joy within!