Sunday, March 21, 2010

Don't just recite it, Deliver it.

One of the biggest things in acting is line delivery. As the old saying goes, "It's not what you say, it's how you say it." This is especially true with acting and Drama Ministry. As actors, we want to present our material as authentically and as realistically as possible. The idea in doing this is to not just simply memorize our lines and recite them on stage. We should read the line. Then, we need to think about what the line means, what is the character really saying? What are they trying to convey by saying this line? What motives, beliefs, and feelings are being expressed in this line? We need to ask our selves how we would respond if these things are really happening to us. How would I feel? How Would I respond? What type of vocal tone would I be using if this were really happening to me?
Then, we need to try out the line. Does it sound good? Am I conveying what I want? We should try out many different ways of saying the line before settling on any specific way of saying it. We need to think about where the emphasis of the words is going. What is the most important words of the sentence? Play with different types of emphasis; see how the line changes in connotation by changing the emphasis. The thing to watch for in this exercise is not making the line singsongy. The line should sound as though it is the natural response from what has just been said. This is why memorizing not only your lines, but also the line surrounding your line is a good thing. This way, you can get the feeling your line is to have. If this character just said that, then I will respond like this. This creates an amount of flow with the characters. The late and great Russian actor and teacher Stanislavski had this to say on the subject, "The proper inward feeling creates the proper outward action."
The lines should flow from us, not bounce off us. It's almost like playing a game of catch. You don't want the ball to bounce off of you. You want to catch the ball and then throw it. The same is true with acting. You want to take your lines, understand them, feel them, and then send them out into the air. Throw them out into the audience. The lines should come from you, the actor, not the script. The script is just paper and has no life of its own. It is the job of the actor to put on the meat, bones and flesh of a character and the things he or she says.

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