Acting is a behavioral discipline made of many conscious and subconscious processes happening at once. In this short post we’re going to overview 3 important skills for actors and performers. These aspects are only the beginning of the story, as there is much more happening at the same time. But if you’re new to acting, or you’re looking for a clear definition of what’s happening within you when you act, here is some info.
Skill n.1 – Listening
When we talk about “listening” in acting, we are not really referring to the simple act of listening with our ears. The skill that is used in acting could be really defined as perception, developing the ability of hearing, orientating, perceiving your position in relation to other actors. And then of course listening to their words, to their lines and to the way they play their part, of course, in order to react properly and naturally. In other words, listening in acting is the skill of staying open to the environment of the stage.
Skill n.2 – Feeling
Feeling in acting is the ability of getting affected by what is happening on stage, and be transformed by it. The dramatic moments of the play should affect our character and change us, in order for us to act congruently in the play. A little transformation must happen within every interaction and every exchange on stage. The way our stage partner talks to us will change us. The way they look at us and the dynamics in place between the characters will change our character and the nature of the interaction. Feeling, in acting, is really the ability of being constantly transformed. As in our daily life, where we’re getting affected and transformed by every interaction, so we should be on stage, in order to shape a vibrant stage reality that feels “real”.
Skill n.3 – Coordination
At the core of acting there’s a two-sided process. If one one hand you have to stay in the moment, ready to react naturally and unleash your spontaneous creativity, on the other hand you’ll have to constantly be aware of the structure of the play, of its script, aware of what’s about to happen in order to adhere to the plan. This typical “split” state of consciousness, so often described in all performative arts, is a delicate balance between conscious and subconscious actions, and it has to be trained consistently in order to kick in and sustain the actors during the performance. Coordination in acting is the ability to unleash your creativity within the boundaries of a predefined, rehearsed performance structure.