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the role of the actor

If you were cast in an ACTING role in this semester's Advanced Acting show, you are responsible for participating in class rehearsals as well as growing as an actor/performer/communicator during the rehearsal and performance process.


If cast, you are ALSO responsible for INDEPENDENTLY learning about the role of an actor as outlined below. 


Please be sure you have your Acting/Design Binder (to collect/document your learning) and your  Process Journal (to reflect on your process/journey).

learning about THE ROLE OF AN ACTOR



Read:  How to Read a Play

Journal Entry:  Approaches to Script & Character

1. Take brief notes on each of the approaches to script/character that are shared on this webpage.

2. List 2-3 approaches to script/character that you think could be helpful to YOU and the script that Adv. Acting is seeking to produce.  Explain why.

Video:  Scoring a Scene - A Review from Acting

Journal Entry:  Scoring a Scene (Wants, Verbs, Blocking)

(Take notes on what actors/directors do when they "score" a scene.  Note: You will NOT have to score your entire script, but this video is a good refresher of the skills and terms you learned in Acting about script analysis.)

Video:  Playing the Action - NY Acting Coach, Suzanne Shepherd (7:20)

Journal Entry:  Playing the Action

Write down what you learned that you think could help YOU with playing YOUR action.

Video: What Every Actor Should Know (5:20)

Journal Entry:  History of Acting

1. Take organized notes on the history of acting. Pause as needed, so your notes are accurate and reflective. (Be sure to jot down each era/individual described and bullet points on what characterized each or what made each influential.)

2.  Who should actors refer to?

3. Actors should study both how people talk AND...?

Read:  Acting Techniques / 5 Acting Techniques Every Actor Should Know

Journal Entry:  Famous Acting Techniques

1. Take organized notes on the most famous acting techniques and the founders of those techniques.  (Be sure to jot down the acting coaches' names and bullet points underneath each with notes about the characteristics of their techniques.  Include the following coaches in this order: Konstantin Stanislavsky, Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner, Uta Hagen.)

Video:  Don Cheadle Explains Where the Real Work Happens for an Actor (4:02)

Video:  Alan Tudyk Reveals the Key to Authentic Acting (2:37)

Video:  Neil Patrick Shares the Best Advice He's Ever Received (3:01)

Video: Willem Dafoe to Young Actors: Strip the Baggage, Embrace the Unknown (2:35)

Video: Matt Damon Talks About What it Takes to Succeed as an Actor (3:25)

Journal Entry:  Being an Actor

1. What truths/advice did you learn/appreciate from these videos?

2.  Consider the meaning both in the text and subtext for YOUR character.  Consider what your character WANTS in each moment of your action.  (No need for written response right now, but you will be asked these questions in rehearsal.)

Video:  The Four Muscles of Acting | Harry Mastrogeorge (4:22)

Journal Entry:  Muscles & Cancer of Acting

1. What are the 4 muscles of acting that you will need to work on?

2. What are the 2 cancers of acting that can limit you?3. Acting naturally under unnatural conditions:  Write this phrase in your journal and put stars all around it.  (Another way to say this is "Living truthfully in imaginary circumstances".  If you prefer that phrase, you can write that one instead.)

Video: Working in Theatre:  Swings, Standbys, Understudies (16:57)

Journal Entry:  Acting Roles

  1. What is an understudy?

  2. What is a standby?

  3. What tends to "remember" when your mind does not?  What does this tell you about HOW to rehearse lines & blocking?

  4. What is a "track"?

  5. What is a "swing"?

  6. What do YOU see as the benefits and setbacks of filling in for others' roles or double-casting?

  7. Write down the actor's advice about skill-set/temperament needed for actors (found at 16:00).

  8. What are some "big ideas" you learned about the discipline of an actor from watching this video that can help YOU better prepare for, and remain disciplined during, our show?

Video:  Jake Gyllenhaal Reveals How He Uses Backstory to Prep for Roles (2:55) *warning: some language - watch up to 2:25)*

Journal Entry:  Character Backstory

1.  With whom "should" an actor create her/his backstory?

2. What research did Gyllenhaal do to help arrive at his backstory?

3. How can changing your body change your mind in acting? 

4. What research could YOU do to contribute to your character's backstory?

Task (Formative Grade):  Create your own CHARACTER CLUES spreadsheet (by carefully reading the script).  KP will provide you with a document for this task, which asks you to find all the STATED (not implied) information about your character from the SCRIPT, including 1.) what the playwright says about your character, 2.) what your character says about her/himself, and 3.) what other characters say about your character.  Once your Character Clues List is complete, turn it in to KP for a grade.

Task: Highlight all YOUR character's lines in your script.  Highlight any props your character touches in a different color.  (Remember, you are responsible to be sure you have your rehearsal props, whether the Props Team has provided them for you yet or not.)

Task:  You will receive a Rehearsal Calendar from the director.  However, you must learn how to manage your OWN time as well.  For this task, create a Deadline Calendar for all YOUR lines in the script.  On your deadline calendar, break down your scenes, and list which pages you want to have memorized by which days.  This will help you to learn your lines/blocking in "chunks", rather than all at once.  (KP prefers that you DON'T memorize lines until their corresponding scenes have been rehearsed in class.)



Task (Formative Grade):  AFTER you've had time to analyze your character, you will look for colors, images, and textures that help to illustrate your interpretation of your character.  With these items, you will create a CHARACTER COLLAGE for your character.  (KP will provide more specific information in class.  Some semesters this is only required for lead actors, since other actors are creating design boards on their Design Teams.  Some semesters it will be required by all actors.)

As you know, most actors are ALSO serving on a Design Team when they are not on stage. Actors to whom this applies will be responsible for their team's design work as well as for their own acting role.


Note:  Included in the Design Process for the Costume Team is fittings.  You will be responsible for scheduling fittings with the costume team, which will typically be outside of class time.    The Make-up & Hair Team may also need to meet with you outside of class to practice your hair and make-up.  Please be sure you're in communication with these teams for when they may need you.  (Consider Wednesday "late starts" as possible times to meet with other teams.)

Task (Formative Grade):  You will be participating in rehearsals under the direction of KP.  Expectations for rehearsal include:

1.) arrive on time 

2.) help the SM set up the space (daily) prior to the start bell - whether you're on stage that day or not

3.) sign in with the SM daily

4.) have your script and pencil daily

5.) correctly mark your script with blocking during rehearsal (if absent, get missed blocking from the SM ASAP)

6.) participate fully both on and off stage during rehearsal

7.) know each day what's being rehearsed, and be ready for it (this includes all props used by your character)

8.) memorize your lines and blocking by pre-established deadlines (create & use deadline calendar described above)


Note:  Prior to Dress/Tech Rehearsals, actors MUST have all costumes, costume pieces, and props.  Actors should also have rehearsed their quick-changes (if applicable) with a dresser, and know where all necessary items that they use before and during the show should be pre-set.


Watch:  Behind the Scenes at Disney's Aladdin

Journal Entry:  Calltime​ / Pre-Show Checklist

1. In professional theatre, as shown in this video, what are the (specific) tasks performed by YOUR assigned role prior to a show?  

2.  What are some of the things that YOU could put on YOUR Pre-Show checklist to be sure our show runs smoothly?  (Think of ALL the things necessary from the time you enter the black box until the show starts, including things like "Where do I put my personal belongings?" or "Where should this prop be pre-set?" or "What's the best place for this quick change to happen?" Etc.  Don't forget to include "sign in" on your checklist.)

Task (Formative Grade):  You will create YOUR Pre-Show Checklist with ALL tasks to consider prior to the show.  This MUST be well-thought out and completed/hung up PRIOR to the FIRST dress/tech rehearsal.  Type and print your checklist (with your name in large font at the top) and hang in a designated area backstage.  (Keep in mind that you will most likely need to add to this list from things you learn or are reminded of in dress/tech rehearsals.


GO DEEPER (optional):


(This list will be added to over time.  Let KP know if you find any helpful information that could be useful to future Advanced Acting students.)


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