I remember being in one of my first acting classes. I was 14 years old, and I had stars in my eyes; however, I had a hunger to learn more about the art form of acting. I knew I had a lot to learn, and I was eager to do so. One of the most important things I learned from my introduction to acting is true dramatic acting is being able to deliver each line of a monologue or scene with true sincerity.
That made me begin to wonder, what is sincerity? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary sincerity is defined as, “honesty of mind; freedom from hypocrisy; the quality or state of being.” Really read over this definition. As an actor you must deliver every line with such conviction and sincerity that you are free from hypocrisy and have an honesty within your mind.
This is where things become tricky. You want to have an honest mind, and free from hypocrisy; however, you are not conveying yourself – you are being someone else. With this in mind, how can you give an honest performance when you’re lying the entire time?
I asked my acting coach this question, and his response, “You are not lying while performing. You are giving truth. Yes, this truth is not your own, but it is the truth of this character. It is the truth of a person, and you are blessed to be able to tell his story. Storytelling is nothing but truth. Yet, it is only true if you believe it is.”
When you are preparing a dramatic scene or monologue, you must truly believe what you’re saying. Far too many actors simply memorize lines and deliver them based on the stereotypical emotion that should be associated with such a line; however, to give a truly sincere performance, you should carefully analyze the emotion behind every word. Close your eyes, place yourself in the characters position. Imagine being in the exact situation he is in, surrounded by the same people, wearing the same clothes, sitting in the same room. Imagine having his life. Going through his heartaches, and reveling in his accomplishments. Now, with this emotional buildup, deliver the line. Deliver the line not according to “how” you should deliver it, but according to the true emotion he is feeling – while staying true to his personality.
Remember, your character’s personality is not your own. You cannot add your own personal quirks, but rather, you must mimic the quirks of this person as if you truly were him. It is only when you are in the mind frame of another person that you can deliver a dramatic scene or monologue with genuine sincerity.