Performing from a Text

Performing from a Text

Understanding the Text and Characterization

  • Understanding the text: The first step is fully appreciating the narrative, characters, themes, and structure in the piece. This requires reading and analysing the script multiple times.
  • Characterization: Develop your role by understanding their motives, desires, relationships, and personality. Consider their physical characteristics, body language, vocal ability, and accent to achieve a believable portrayal.

Ensemble Work and Rehearsals

  • Ensemble work: Learn how to co-operate and work effectively in a group. Every member has a role and should actively contribute to the collective creative process.
  • Rehearsals: Regular and productive rehearsals are necessary. They give the opportunity to refine all aspects of performance, from blocking and voice work to characterisation and timing.

Work with Directives: Use of Space, Stage Directions and Blocking

  • Use of space: Consider your positioning on stage, and how to make use of the whole space for creative effects. This includes the way your character moves and their body language.
  • Stage directions: These need to be interpreted and applied accurately and effectively. They offer insight into the playwright’s vision, including character behaviour and feelings.
  • Blocking: This is the process whereby movements of all the performers are worked out. It includes the planning and practise of actor positioning, movement and stage business.

Voice, Speech and Costumes

  • Voice and speech: Allow for suitable projection, clarity, and tone to communicate characters and narrative clearly. This may include the use of accents, pitch, pace and pause to create characterisation and mood.
  • Use of props and costumes: Items and clothing chosen should be appropriate to the characters and the story. They contribute to the illusion of the drama and the conviction of the performance.

Performance Skills: Interpretation, Improvisation, Feedback and Performance

  • Interpretation: Develop an understanding and perspective on the script that you can communicate through your performance. This will involve a creative thought process.
  • Improvisation: Whereas it’s essential to adhere to the script, you might find times when spontaneous creativity or problem-solving is needed on stage.
  • Feedback: Be receptive to criticism and willing to refine your performance based on constructive comments. This is key to growth and improvement.
  • Performance: Finally, the culmination of all the hard work is the performance itself. Here, the focus should be on maintaining character, delivering lines genuinely, and engaging with the audience confidently.