Actor Advice

Animal-Kingdom-2-(Merry-Pierce)Suggestions on preparing for your readings in the Last Frontier Theatre Conference Play Lab

This brief document is intended to reinforce the purpose of these reading (serving the playwrights, letting them hear their plays) while giving a few pointers on performing in readings. There will also be a class in Lab readings at the start of each year’s Conference.

Preparation

  1. Read the script a few times to be familiar with it.
  2. Highlight your role, and make any other notes in it that you’ll need to help you during the reading.
  3. If you feel you will not be able to do a role for whatever reason (schedule, miscast, whatever), let the Coordinator know right away.
  4. Look up any words you don’t know.
  5. Ask yourself the following questions about your character(s):
    1. Where am I?

i.     Time (year, hour, night, day, etc.)

ii.     Place (city, environment, room, etc.)

  1. What just happened? The given or imagined circumstances that happened just prior to the first beat.
  2. What do I want? (Objectives, have one for each scene)
  3. What is in my way of achieving their objective?
  4. What do I DO to get what I want? These are the actions of the scene ( i.e. to fight for what I want, to explain, to plead, to make you understand, etc. )
  5. And if you are very different from the character look for the similarities and enjoy the stretch!!

Rehearsal Etiquette

  1. Be at least five minutes early to rehearsals, and do not disrespect your peers by wasting their time and being late.
  2. Be there to work. There are lots of great and friendly people to play with, but make sure your focus is on the script and rehearsing during the allotted time.
  3. Remember that you are there to play your part, not direct other actors.
  4. Remember that playwrights can be very sensitive during this process. Phrases like “I don’t care for the play too much” or even “Is this your first play” can be very damaging. Emphasize what you DO like in the play (there’s always something), and get to work.

A couple of useful tools for readings

  1. Eye contact: when possible (other people’s monologues, during your short lines), get your head out of the script and look at other actors. The energy of drama comes from interaction.
  2. Cue Pick Up. Unless the script calls for a pause, the odds are that you should just keep the script moving by keeping the spaces between lines small.