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No small parts, only quiet characters...

Good day CSDCers! Since today is the second Thursday of the month, I wanted to establish my blogging schedule. This way I have a set theme to write about, and I keep up with every aspect of theatre. My plan is to do a post about theatre history or some general theatre thing, acting, tech, and some special event happening at CSDC during the month. That makes this week acting.

Since I was a tech in during my years in CSDC, I didn’t do much acting. But I did get the chance to listen and learn the basics. Also, this year I’m taking a college English course about film and adaptations. What is interesting about this class is that while we look specifically at book to film adaptions, we also study plays like Shakespeare and the many different styles of acting they employ. The Shakespeare play I’m currently studying is his last history, Richard III.

I bring this up because analyzing different styles of acting for a single scene allows you to learn how to project different emotion to the audience and even elicit certain emotion from the audience. In my class, we watched the same two scenes done by two different actors and directors. The difference was striking. In the opening monologue and subsequent scene, both Laurence Olivier and Ian McKellen gave a different portrayal of one of the most ruthless villains of Shakespeare’s plays.

For those who aren’t familiar with the play, Richard III is the final in a series of eight plays chronicling the War of the Roses in England. These plays, in their entirety, told the history of Elizabeth I’s family though her father, Henry VIII. Richard’s part follows the final years of the House of York and the beginning of the Tudor dynasty. Whew! History lesson of the day: CHECK!

As actors, you first listen to your director for key points and directions for your character. After that there is freedom to wiggle around. The beauty of acting is you are able to create a whole person and personality, if only for a few scenes. This week all of you have been in training for monologues and auditioning. This is a crucial skill to know for theatre and yes, even everyday life. You will always have that job interview or meeting with someone new that can lead to a new friendship or relationship.

Remember actors: there are no small parts, only parts for quiet characters. Each character is pivotal to a play, even if they aren’t the leads.

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