One of the things the first-time Midsummer actors are starting to experience is the difficulty involved in taking a bunch of words on a page and making it real. Last night, I told an actor that I didn’t believe him. This was not an insult. I was not telling him that I thought he was dishonest. The problem was that I didn’t believe that he believed the things he was saying. And an actor MUST believe his or her own words!
Let me repeat that… an actor MUST believe his or her own words.
This is why I’ve given such a quick time to be off book – because how can you believe something when you’re reading it off a page? You’re just reading! But if you get the words committed to memory, and have them memorized so well that you hardly need to think about it, then you come closer to reality.
And the characters our actors are playing must be real – living, breathing, feeling, thinking people. They must have emotional responses to external stimuli – get angry, happy, excited, bored, lonely, frustrated, jealous, in love. Your character will not be ACTING like he or she is these things – it needs to really be happening!
The first step is understanding who she or he is. This is why I gave the actors in-depth character study sheets. Understand what makes him or her the way he or she is! Why does she laugh at jokes? Why does he get angry when someone looks at him the wrong way?
Then, memorize, memorize, memorize. Make the words your own.
Become the character! Make it real! Believe!