Advanced Acting Methods – Discovering the Meaning of the Script

Throughout your training as an actor, you will likely come across acting coaches and books that primary focus on character development and the technical skills you as an actor must be well-versed in. While these knowledge points are vital for the success of any actor, acting is comprised of myriad of minute details that must be understood by all actors in order to perform a well-rounded production.

No matter the venue of the production (stage, film, TV, etc.) you must work with the entire production staff and fellow actors to discover the meaning of the script.

Every script has a particular meaning, and it is with this super-meaning, if you will, that all actors must act toward. Imagine the meaning of a script being a giant light and all the actors and crew professionals are moths. While each of you may come from a different direction, the ultimate goal for each “moth” is to reach the light. The same is true when it comes to understanding the meaning of the script, and working to successfully convey this meaning to the audience.

One of the most important aspects of theater plays or filmmaking is that every person involved in the production clearly understands this meaning, and until each professional understands the meaning the production will not move forward in a successful and unified manner.

How to Discover the Meaning

The first step you as an actor must take when it comes to uncovering the meaning of a script is to read through the script several times. While reading the script, do not focus on your character, but rather focus on the entire story – on all characters and scenes. What is the primary objective of the script? Is there an overall moral to the story? As a professional actor you must be able to answer these questions.

Sharing Your Interpretation

I have worked with far too many actors who did not share their own interpretation of the script. Some actors feel that they should solely concentrate on the technical aspects of rehearsals; however, rehearsals are an opportune time to discuss what the actual story means to you and how you interpret it.

Only through open discussions with your fellow actors and director will you be able to agree upon the overall meaning of the script and create a unified mindset toward the emotional and storytelling direction of the production.

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