Big Spirit Youth Theatre are based at The Queen Mother Theatre, Hitchin
Box office 01462 55166 - www.qmt.org.uk
Okay well let’s start the process of becoming the actor you want to be right now! Here are some acting exercises you can do alone and some you can do with your friends. Each of them should be practised over a few times until you can do them without feeling too awkward. Remember, practise will mean you feel less and less awkward each time.
The Telephone Call
Let’s start with something that looks simple but actually is quite hard to do well. First off watch someone on their mobile talking. All you can hear is one side of the conversation. Look at them reacting to what the other person is saying – you can’t hear what the other person is saying of course but you can see how your friend reacts. See how full of energy your friend is when they talk – how much their voice varies, how their mood changes as the conversation moves on. What your friend doesn’t know is this – they’re acting. They don’t think they are because they’re just talking on the phone but because you’re watching them, it really is a performance. A great and glorious performance!
Right now it’s time for you to try. Don’t really phone anyone just use your phone as a prop. Now you’ve had hundreds of phone calls in your life so this is something that’s so familiar. Yet this time no one is talking back. You’ll have to make up the whole thing yourself. What the other person says and how you feel about what they say. Have a go. Imagine your phone is ringing and pick it up – it’s your friend and they’re asking you out but you have so much school work on you can’t go. You want to go out but you feel you shouldn’t. What’s going to happen? Hey – that’s up to you!
There’s the phone ringing now…pick it up and start. See how you get on.
Next step: When you’ve practised it a few times alone in your room – pretend to answer your phone when someone is nearby. This is real acting now – will they spot that you’re talking to yourself or will they believe this is a real phone call? The object is to convince them it’s real. If you can do that then you’re definitely a good actor!
Invisible acting is acting so no one but you knows you’re acting. This is how it works – below is a short speech. First of all learn it and practise saying a few times so you really know you know it. Now here’s the invisible acting task – your job is to slip this little speech into a conversation so no one spots that you’re acting. Try and make it sound very normal. If the person you’re talking to spots it and says ‘What on earth are you talking about…’ then make some excuse and try it again on someone else. Focus on the task – you’re trying to slip the little speech into a conversation so no one thinks it’s too odd. Gottit? Say the lines exactly as written. Good luck!
‘That’s nice (point to something) Really nice. God why can’t I have something like that? If I had some money – right – that’s just the sort of thing I’d get. Really I would’
Easier – point to something sensible like your friend’s jacket or a posh dog someone is walking.
Harder – point to something a bit unusual. Your friend might ask you questions about what you’ve said so you’ll have to carry on acting for a bit to move the conversation on. But did they spot you were acting?