Acting Classes

Written by Stacy Chbosky
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The best actors never stop taking acting classes, no matter how old or experienced they are. Great actors understand that there is always something new to learn. They understand that, in order to maintain their excellence, they must constantly hone their craft. In other words, a great actor never stops taking acting classes, because he never stops growing.

Master Acting Classes

Of course, not all classes are created equal. There are many wonderful acting schools for film and television. Others concentrate on theater acting. Many wonderful classes are hybrids of the two--they use classic theater scenes and scene analysis, then apply those same scenes to camera work.

Other classes may concentrate on one specific aspect of the craft. For instance, an actor may choose to expand his knowledge with a mask class, such as a Commedia d'el Arte class. Or he may focus on the basics, with a class in acting techniques for the audition. Classes can focus on scene work, monologue work, a combined writing /acting workshop for the one-person show, or movement work, such as rapier and dagger, or stage combat.

All acting classes have one thing in common, however: the class is only as good as the teacher. A brilliant teacher can improve your acting no matter what the curriculum. Some teachers are so superb that their students, no matter how accomplished or well-known, return to them again and again. If you want to find an exceptional class, look for testimonials.

Acting Classes and Scene Analysis

Clearly, acting classes come in all shapes and sizes. However, the classic acting class is always based on scene work. Scenes are broken down and then built back up again by the teacher and his students. They dissect the scene, much as a class of medical students might dissect a human body. Scenes are, in fact, the "skeletons" of great acting. Understand how to play a scene well, and you'll understand how to act.

Scenes should be analyzed first as written words. The best acting classes teach overwhelming respect for the playwright, and sanctity of the written word. Scenes are analyzed for content, meaning, character relationship, arc, and so on.

Then, actors bring the scenes to life. They are usually expected to do a good deal of work with their scene partner between classes. They bring their ideas to the class, where the teacher then shapes them and, hopefully, improves upon them. In acting classes, scenes are usually blocked, directed, and rehearsed again and again. Actors learn to take direction, and grow.

Sometimes, scenes are taped and then studied. Actors and teachers analyze any discrepancies between what the actor felt he was portraying, and what he sees on the tape. Studying a taped scene can be an absolute revelation for an actor, if he has the right guide.

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