The challenge of acting

Acting is not easy. It requires good memory, knowing oneself, and —in short— believing that you are the character you are playing. Acting requires good physical condition. Actors need to be able to run around, move things around, or change clothes fast to keep the pace the play demands —particularly in theatre.

Yet that's not it. Every person who wishes to become an actor needs lots of imagination and previous life experiences. Imagination is powerful, but not always enough; so actors sometimes try to learn by engaging themselves in the activities their characters will need to do during the play (like talking with schizophrenic people, or shooting real weapons) before being able to act like a particular character.

In the grounds of all this, there is an arsenal of individual skills. These are developed after some studies.

First is diction, the ability of pronouncing clearly and properly so that everybody can understand what they are saying. This comes together with voice projection, the ability of sending their voice loudly and clearly far away without shouting —just like singers do. In cinema, voice projection may be less necessary because of the microphones, but in theatre, it is a must.

Then comes the ability of losing the own acquired inhibitions. This is usually achieved after practice, games, and the support of their fellow actors. While acting, everything around you becomes part of the play; and most of the times, an actor interacts with everything around him at least once during a play.

Once a person is prepared to act, everything revolves around the script. After reading it and agreeing what will be included and what will be taken out of the play (something that happens more often than you may think), actors start rehearsing. This consists of acting, but also reacting to the other characters' actions which shapes the play under the control of the director.

To be able to shape the play completely, and to achieve the desired result rehearsal after rehearsal, and performance after performance, actors typically alter their own personality with the character's personality. They switch mentally between themselves and the character on and off like a light switch. This is how they can cry in the second act when they are on stage, or shout desperately at the main character before the final act every time, again and again.

Yet this has its downsides too. Actors tend to embrace their characters so much that the performance may lead to some real suffering.

This is why I say acting is a real challenge.

Learn + Arts + Theatre