It is difficult if not impossible to teach someone to be an actor. However, they can be guided into sharpening their creative imagination, and intuitive skills. The best places to begin are through relaxation, concentration, and sensory exercises. There are many different ways to approach these areas, but we shall keep to the basics.
Relaxation- Releasing unnecessary tension from the muscles
By practicing this process, the students will eventually be able to assess and relax their bodies under any circumstances within five minutes.
The purpose for relaxation to an actor is not for rest. What use would an actor be on stage or in film if they were half asleep? Relaxation is used to release stored tension in the muscles and should always be practiced in an active and energized manner. Begin by having the students sit in their chairs as comfortably as possible without holding on with their arms or legs, etc. Remind them to pay close attention to their breathing, inhaling through the nose filling the diaphragm with air, and slowly releasing the breath through the mouth. They may now begin to assess the muscles from the tip of their toes to the top of their head. In order for them to release the tension, they must move each area of the body slowly and specifically, acknowledge the tension, focus their breath to the area, and tell that area to relax. To maintain the relaxation, we test the previous areas by once again moving it, this time using only the energy required. Once the entire body has been assessed you may stand up, shake out each muscle, and bounce lightly on the balls of the feet. Always maintain a steady breathing pattern. Students will feel relaxed, refreshed, and awake.
Concentration- Focused exploration and assessment
Student will understand that in order to create believability as a character, concentration is a must.
Give the student an everyday object. One with weight, texture, color, and fragrance is preferred. Ex: A glass of soda. Have them hold it and study the physical attributes of the object for five minutes. Take the object away, and ask them to recreate holding the object trying to remember the details. This is not a miming exercise, but one of exploration. Therefore, in this exercise, as in all acting exercises, the students should not be trying to obtain a result.
Sensory Awareness- Heightening the abilities of the five senses
Students will understand that sharpening the five senses breathes a more believable life into a character.
Heightening sensory awareness is useful to every actor in that we absorb and remember all daily information through our senses. Keeping senses sharp allows an actor to work with more than words from a script by aiding him/her in creating a believable environment. For example, suppose the given circumstances in a scene are that it is raining and you have no umbrella. The rain is making you chilly. By recreating the effects of the rain sensorially, that is how it looks, sounds, tastes, feels, and smells, the body will naturally react the way it would if it were actually raining. Therefore instead of a character indicating that it is raining, maybe by pulling a jacket over his/her head, you will instead have a character responding in the moment to the affects of the rain. Once again begin by sitting relaxed, and focused on breathing. Dealing with the immediate classroom environment, begin with the sense of sight. How many different things do you see? Are the colors vivid? What are the details of objects around you? What can you see through your peripheral vision? Can you extend that vision further, and see more clearly? Move to sound, taste, touch, and smell in the same way, always questioning yourself to gain more detail, always striving to reach a higher level. This exercise should be done on a daily basis to keep the process sharp.