Most people think that there is a definite formula, preparation, or technique that will make you a great actor. However, that isn’t the case- there is no definite way to becoming a great actor. Acting techniques are as unique as you are. Each actor has a different way of getting inside the role that they are playing.
At the studio, actors work so hard that it can become counterproductive. They keep trying to “get it right,” so they lose the sense of mystery and surprise that all great artists possess.
When I was in summer stock, I had the great joy of acting the lead in Larry Shue’s play THE NERD. The 500-seat -theatre was on a lake and we were in this huge barn-like building. I was the nerd who was invited to an elegant dinner party. Well, one night during the play, a moth kept flying around all the actors on stage. The other actors would say their lines while swatting at the moth and missing. It flew right up to me and I would swat it and miss as well! I knew the entire audience was glued to the moth and not the play. Well, all of the sudden, it landed on the rug. Another actor was reciting a monologue as I gingerly walked towards the resting mouth and then SPLAT! I squashed it. The entire play stopped. The audience stopped. The actors stopped. I looked up at the actor playing Tansy (the lady of the house) and said to her in character “I’m sorry about your rug.” The entire 500 seat audience roared with laughter and applauded. Why? Because no one knew what was going to happen, not even the actors. When the actor is in a “not-knowing” state, the work becomes riveting.
The secret to great acting is mystery. The technique you choose should help get you there. Here are a few tips to help you along that road…
When you are working as a professional actor, you have to get the take, do the scene and take direction. But when you are rehearsing or learning in an acting class, you are given the unique freedom to discover the role. You get the unique opportunity to explore. Acting is a conscientious approach to unconscientious behavior. This means you are unaware of how you are coming across and are simply being yourself in the character’s shoes. You are creating from your heart and everything works!