Amateur Drama tips by Bev Clark
BELIEF – believe in yourself and they will believe in you! Self-belief is confidence in your ability but not to the point of being over confident and trying to steal the show. Make your performance honest and truthful – even if it’s a farce or an absurd comedy – because the audience must believe you are real in the character you portray.
BLOCKING – That thing the director does when he or she tells you where to stand and when to move.
DON’T get blocked in or down by blocking. A good director will let the actors find their way around the stage naturally before laying down any firm moves. Of course, the bigger the cast (and set) the more ridged you have to be with your shaping. When to move and when to stand still is very important. Make sure as actors you don’t pace or hover or rock from side to side. Make a move a proper move with purpose – not just for the sake of it.
BODY-LANGUAGE – So important because so often the actor’s words say one thing but their body language is saying something else.
Think about the way your character would sit, stand and walk. Would they move quickly or slowly? Not only does the character determine this but also the mood and emotion as well as the environment they find themselves in, Directors need to be doing useful exercises on movement and characterisation to make the character’s body language as well as their voice believable.
BREATHING – speaking of the Voice, actors need to feel competent that they can sustain their breath enough throughout a performance. It is not just about projection – throwing the voice – but learning how to control the voice in emotion. It is easy for the emotion to take hold and the words to become inaudible. This may be realistic but no good in a performance if a whole speech is lost.
Breathing exercises can help an actor through the emotional roller-coaster of soft and loud and for all those long speeches. Warming up the voice is just as important to an actor as it is to a singer in the same way a dancer wouldn’t go on stage without warming up their limbs.
Bev Clark is a Playwright, Director & Drama adjudicator who has worked all over England in both professional and community theatre. She has been writing drama scripts and directing plays for many years.