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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Richard E.'s Notes on Acting


This week's blog entry is mostly just for fun.  It's one of my most treasured memories from my graduate acting program.

I was fortunate to learn from Richard Easton while I was attending the Old Globe Theatre.  Mr. Easton is an amazing actor and an amazing man.  For those of you who don't know who he is, he won a Tony for Best Actor in 2001 for his role in Tom Stoppard's The Invention of Love.  This was right after he finished mentoring my classmates and I through our program.

He has a way of looking at acting that is completely different than anything I had ever experienced before (it took me about six weeks before I understood what the heck he was talking about).  He has worked with Dame Judy Dench and Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson.  His personality is bigger than any space I ever saw him in.

In short, he is awesome!

One day he came into class with a sheaf of papers (highly unusual in and of itself) and announced in his sonorous voice (replete with British polish), "I was on my second bottle of wine last night, when I decided to write down some notes on acting."  He then proceeded to share some real gems with us.  I'll share two of the most memorable.

1.  "You must never whistle in the theatre.  Not because it's bad luck.  Because it's ANNOYING!"

2.  "Always go backstage after a performance.  It establishes you as a member of the club."

Here's the thing:  besides the fact that the whole episode had me in stitches, there's actually some real stuff in there.

1.  When we're working with others, we need to stop and think.  Is what we're saying or doing potentially hurtful, disrespectful, or just downright irritating?  Then maybe we'd better make a different choice.

2.  Then the other--make opportunities to interact with other industry professionals ON THEIR LEVEL.  Find ways to be working so that we can interact with working actors, with the level of respect that comes with being a working actor.  I'm not even talking about income right now, folks.  I'm talking about constantly acting.  In something.  Anything.  It makes a difference.  Seriously.

So, that's it for this week, except for the little nudge I'm going to give you right now.  If you want to be taken seriously by professionals, you need to be trained like a professional.  Guess what?  I can help you there.  I teach online classes--acting, on-camera, auditioning, dialects, diction, voice...yeah, that's right.  I'm tooting my own horn.  You know why?  'Cause I'm good.

But don't take my word for it.  Test me out.  Shoot me an email (actingwithoutthedrama {at} gmail {dot} com) and I'll alert you anytime I'm doing one of my free intro classes.  Or, you can go off of the statements you've already seen from other actors on my stream and sign up.  I've got some great back-to-school specials happening right now, so ask me about them. :)

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