Acting exercises are designed to sharpen the skills all actors must possess. This particular exercise teaches actors how to engage their full body and mind even when performing everyday actions. Actors, especially new actors, feel that the everyday actions within a script may not be that important, thus they don’t place the proper amount of energy and thought into these movements; however, in order to portray a lifelike character you must understand how to fully engage your mind and body into these “simple actions” as you do in everyday life.
Goal of Exercise: The goal of this exercise is to allow actors the opportunity to create a scene based off of an everyday action that you create.
Create a list of everyday actions, and assign an action to an actor. Allow the actor to create a scene from this action. After several minutes, instruct the actor to come up with an overall objective within the scene.
For example, the action sentence is, “Walk 10 steps.” The scene created from this action may be: A man is waiting outside of the hospital to learn the fate from a car accident his lover was involved in. He is slightly injured, but only noticeable through is walk. He’s worried, scared, angry and distraught. The objective of this scene is, “I must stay strong for him, but how can I go on if he dies?”
Instruct the actor to perform an improvisational scene from this everyday action. The actor may work with or without using words; however, his actions must be filled with purpose. However, do not allow the actors to perform any activity that requires the actor to pantomime.
Everyday Action Examples
Below are several examples I use when I teach this acting exercise. Feel free to use these examples or make up your own.
· Writing a letter · Reading a newspaper · Drinking a beer · Packing your suitcase · Wandering throughout a department store · Grocery Shopping · Walking 10 steps · Waiting for the bus · Stretching · Arranging your furniture