Actors, are you Listening?

Acting Tip # 9

Happy Monday! My pre-production is going really well and I am counting down the days until I finally get to be in the rehearsal hall with my actors. Well, the Zoom rehearsal hall, that is! Maybe one day I will write an article on directing for the theatre over Zoom!? Many of us have done it and, I am sure, we are all ready to get back into that theatre. But I digress…

Here I am with Acting Tip # 9. This one is going to be short and sweet. Today I am going to talk about (arguably) the most important part of acting. All of you wannabe film and TV actors should listen (see what I did there?). Seriously, this is one of the most important skills of any great actor, whether you are on stage or acting on camera. If you haven’t guessed it yet, I am talking about LISTENING.

Listening is much more important to your character than anything else. Listening to your fellow actors is 90% of all great acting. It not only gives you your reactions and the trampoline for your next thought/line but it will reveal many important hints from the writer about your character. What I mean by this is, all the great writers give you hints about your character through what the other characters say about you. This is why it is imperative that you study the other characters’ lines as much as your own.

This obviously means you need to get to know your text so well that you can forget your lines and just listen. You have to get to the point where you can just trust the lines will be there when you need them. Real listening means real connection with your fellow actors. It means your technique will be invisible to the audience (we know it is still there though! 😊) and you will be able to take them anywhere. This is another key to selling to your audience the belief that you are the first ones to ever say these lines. Even if it is Shakespeare!

So, actors, are you listening?



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Lee Samuel Wilson

Lee holds Canadian, British & Irish citizenship. He is an actor, director, dramaturg, professor, and artistic director.