Acting Techniques

Written by Stacy Chbosky
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There are dozens of different acting techniques, ranging from common sense to the fantastically weird. Some acting techniques are rooted in the body, while others are rooted in the voice, while still others are rooted in the text analysis and written word. There are acting classes for learning dialects, sword fighting, mask work, mime, clowning, and improvisation.

There are Los Angeles acting schools and New York acting schools for just about every weird sect and bizarre sliver of theater imaginable. Although each class teaches something remarkably different, they all usually lead to the same thing. All acting techniques are fundamentally designed to help the actor make better choices in how to play the role, and greater freedom, flexibility and specificity bringing those choices to life.

Acting Techniques and Scene Study

Perhaps the simplest and best way to work on technique is to work on scene. You can spend hours learning how to speak in a Yiddish accent or mime the tying of a shoe lace, but unless you can apply those skills to scene work, they aren't worth much. That's because the scene is the skeleton for all acting.

Scene work often begins with analyzing a scene. What does a character want? What does he think of the other characters in the piece? What are his flaws, what's his tempo, and how does he speak? After analysis, actors get on their feet an embody these choices. This is much easier said than done, and a lot of the work is about getting out of your own way, so that what was in your head can come to life in your body.


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