Life Lessons learned in Acting Class
So, before I changed my major to Business Management with an emphasis in Finance, I was a theatre major at Millikin University. There in the acting classes that I took as a freshman and a sophomore, I learned much about life and sincerity. I was able to learn these lessons as I participated in acting warm-up activities and exercises.
Lesson #1: Sincerity
In acting, it does not work if you are not sincere. If the other person does not feel the intent of the message you are trying to relay, it causes him to have to work harder, rather than having the acting be a team exercise. How we worked on this is by doing a warm-up exercise where the two scene partners would stand about two feet apart facing each other. Each would look into the other’s eyes and then one would start by saying a statement about the other person, and then that person would repeat it. It would go something like this:
“Person 1: You are beautiful.
Person 2: I am beautiful.
Person 1: You are beautiful.
Person 2: I am beautiful.
This would go on until both scene partners truly believed what the other was saying and recognized it as sincere. Then, one of them would change to a different statement and the exercise would continue.
In life, we don’t usually have that many chances to be sincere to a person we are talking to. Usually, we only have one or maybe two chances. Let us try to be sincere from the beginning.
Lesson #2: Trust
So, this acting exercise that I explained previously also helped to build trust between the scene partners. A connection would begin to form and one partner could trust the other to pull his part of the work that went into the acting scene. Also, by looking into each other’s eyes for what seemed at times to be an eternity, when in reality it was probably five minutes, scene partners were able to build trust with each other. Each could watch as the walls fell down so that the two could work together acting as different people than who they actually are.
The eyes seem to be the window to the soul, and helped to cut down the time it took to trust and understand the other person’s needs.
Lesson #3: Listening
Now, this is a huge one. Especially in life. I believe that this is one of the things that separates good acting from bad acting. Good actors actually listen to what their partners give them to play with and then respond to it. Bad actors already have what they are going to do determined in their mind and they just do what they have rehearsed regardless of whether or not their partner gives them something differently.
Listening comes as a result of sincerity and trust. It comes as one partner realizes that the other is not going to ruin the scene by doing something completely different that does not fit. Acting truly becomes a representation of life when the actors relate with one another and are able to play off one another in a scene. This takes great practice and the ability to really listen to what the other person is both saying and doing.
Do we actually listen in real life? Or do we just give one word, or predetermined answers when people talk to us?
Lesson #4: Time
It is so important to spend time with your scene partner(s) in acting. This is important because it is the way to really get to know someone and how he/she works best.
Time is an extremely important part of living with other people, especially those you love. Spending time with a person is a way of telling them that you understand or want to understand them better. It is a way of showing someone that you truly care.
Are you actually living your life or are you merely going through the motions? I know that as I have implemented these lessons I have learned from acting class into my actual life, I have felt more like I am actually living rather than just going through the motions. I know that our Heavenly Father is there to help and that He actually does listen to, trust, and spend time with us in sincerity. He is reaching out to us daily. Let us also reach out to Him.