Acting is a craft, like all roles in the theatre; it requires a period of apprenticeship to learn it. Whether this is learned in the classroom, or through the practice of theatre making, it is learned entirely through doing. There is no theory of acting, only practice.
ONE: ACTING IS BEST LEARNED LIKE A SPORT
The late great improvisation expert Viola Spolin used to teach through side coaching, an especially important skill for those attempting to assist actors to learn to improvise. Just like in sports, if the acting coach needs to stop the actors every time they need to suggest something, then the scene will never happen. It’s like the sports coach who needs to stop the entire game in order to give their team instructions.
TWO: ACTING TEACHERS ARE CHARLATANS
I don’t believe in acting teachers and their acting classes, most are fraudulent and the greatest problem is that they don’t even realise it. Very few have a practicable technique of acting to teach in their acting classes, and so they essentially con their students with lots of what I call fake work. These are fun, creative exercises and games that deeply engage but leave the acting student wondering how they could ever apply that work to the process of acting.
Poor acting teachers cannot articulate their technique, and when they do, they use impractical language and intangible techniques that bamboozle and frustrate the student. A coach offers solid practicable advice on which the acting student can make an immediate step towards progress and advancement in their craft.
THREE: ACTING IS ABOUT DOING
Acting is something that can be learnt, but I’m not sure it can be taught. I believe as Sanford Meisner did that acting is living truthfully under the imaginary circumstances of the play. If so, acting is natural for everyone, we’re all doing it daily. The only part that needs coaching is the connection to the imaginary circumstances of the play, and that’s simply a matter of being coached in an approach that effectively connects you to the play.
FOUR: ACTING CLASSES
When people are learning to act, they need to be coached whilst they are working. If you need to stop them every time you want to make a suggestion, they;ll have to work hard to get back to where they were before they can implement the suggestion. By that time, the moment is lost. The acting classes that I run generally use this form of coaching, but people find it very difficult to give up on their desire to stop and listen to a teacher every time I need to make a brief suggestion.
FIVE: BACK TO SPORT
Coaches mainly deal with the practicalities of physical sports. This is my view of acting and acting classes. An acting coach should deal with the training of an actor like they deal with the training of an athlete. The actor is an aesthetic athlete. Acting classes should be highly practical, very physical sessions; acting is a physical craft, the craft of physical action.
If you’d like to attend acting classes in Glasgow or find out more about getting an acting coach, why not speak to Mark.