Tag Archives: Techniques

Improvisation: On Stage & Rehearsal Routines

Improvising is a tool used by people every day throughout many professions. Sales reps, teachers, and so many others benefit from the elements of improvisation.

Actors on stage

Improvisation in the theater is something every actor works to improve and hone their skills. When you’re practicing, rehearsing, warming up, and exercising your mind, you’re always using improvisation.

Improv Increases Skills

Practicing improvisation increases the skills of an actor. Improv skills come in handy in many situations, when something goes awry, and mistakes happen when the curtain is up. Though we don’t plan for these things to happen, this is an element of live theater, and we can’t control when mistakes occur. We can, however, practice to know how to handle these situations and make them seem natural.

Expand Imagination & Creativity

When you’re practicing your improv skills, you create characters based on your imagination and creativity. This helps you study character elements, roles, and personalities so you can better portray certain character traits. When practicing improvisation in a group setting, actors will often interact with others in group scenes. This helps build character relationships and allows actors to study how they best interact with others on stage.

actor rehearsing

Creating a scene or a setting through improv is purely up to the actor. Improv is all about going with the flow. It increases your awareness, response time, and cognitive abilities.

Positivity & Open-Ended Comments

A general rule of thumb with improv is to include positive comments, open-ended thoughts, and questions with room for a response. Positive words like ‘yes’ as opposed to ‘no’ can allow you to build scenes further, and allow other actors to build from what you’ve created. Don’t position yourself or your partner with nowhere to go when improvising.

acting out improv scenes

There are different rules for each theater community in regard to improvising. Most drama clubs or theater communities have a plan in place for when things go off script during a live performance. Almost all thespians practice their improvisation skills daily, and using them when you need them can make or break the believability of your production.

Planning With Improv

Before each production, discuss with your director and cast which improvisation tips and tricks will work during the show. See what’s appropriate beforehand, and decide how your cast will handle mistakes. Work on your improv a little each day to increase your skills all around.

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Monologue Madness

actor on stage

A monologue is a long speech delivered by an actor during a theatrical production. Some actors love monologues, while others are impartial to them. Monologues come at a particular point in the production and they serve an important purpose. Let’s take a look at what goes into delivering a monologue, details, and other elements of monologue madness

Memorizing Long Passages
Monologues are long passages delivered at a single time. This is usually why some actors struggle with delivering monologues. If a role contains a monologue, that may be a deciding factor as to whether or not an actor will audition for that role during a casting call. Though people think actors are extremely good at memorization – because that’s the nature of what they do – it’s still a challenge during rehearsals, as it’s a process moving toward opening night. Actors must be 100% comfortable delivering the monologue before moving forward with the production.

monologue delivery

The Moment of a Monologue
The moments in which monologues are delivered say a lot about the essence of a monologue. Delivered at a pinnacle moment of the story line, monologues are usually intense dramatic moments of realization, passion, or emotion. This is one reason why actors may dislike monologues. As an actor with a role containing a monologue, you’re responsible for a big moment. You have all eyes on you, and sometimes you’re the only one on stage. A monologue is an important moment to the show, so it’s critical that you express yourself exactly how you should so the audience understands and makes the proper connections.

 

monologue drama

 

Monologues for Students
As a theater student, you may have had to deliver a monologue in place of a written test, or as a graded project. This is also overwhelming if it’s a deciding factor of your grade or your passing the class. Monologue memorization and deliverance is by no means easy, especially when you’re weighted with other stressors while trying to memorize and consciously deliver.

The strong, confident actors should take on roles with monologues. Usually main or directly supporting roles of relevance are characters of a production who deliver monologues. Practicing memorization, deliverance, as well as improving your forms of persuasion can help you excel when it comes to monologues.

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Ethos, Logos, and Pathos: Tools of Persuasion

Ethos Pathos Logos Chart

Aristotle coined the terms ethos, logos, and pathos as the three main tools of persuasion.

These are used in theatre, in literature, and beyond. As actors are learning various acting styles, techniques, and methods, they are introduced to these three modes of persuasion.

In theater,  persuasion is most effective through a person’s character: their ethics, their logic, their emotion, and their ability to sympathize.

An actor on stage has the responsibility of being believable or credible. Ethos, logos, and pathos are used to create a more authentic and credible personality.  To successfully persuade, actors have been looking upon these three appeals for quite some time. They are reliable methods that actors learn to use to their advantage. Read on to learn more about the three classic modes of persuasion.

Ethos: Appealing to Ethics

Ethos is the ethical appeal, and it means to convince an audience of the author’s credibility or character by showing a good sense of ethics. An actor would use ethos to prove to his audience that he’s credible and worth listening to by presenting their ethical opinions and making ethical decisions. 

If an actor was working on how to appeal to ethos, they may try studying their character out of rehearsal and off-stage. They may choose to make ethical decisions as their character would, and even dress frugally as their character would to better understand their character’s lifestyle.

Actor in Wig with Glasses and bandana

Logos: Appealing to Logic

Logos is the appeal to logic, meaning to convince the audience by using logic or reason. When appealing to logos, an actor may cite facts or statistics to prove their points. An actor may appeal to logos by presenting logical or well-rounded arguments, may cite important information, or may refer to historical analogies for explanations and proof.

Pathos: Appealing to Emotion

Pathos is the emotional appeal, meaning to convince an audience through appealing on emotional levels. Actors may attempt to evoke sympathy so the audience feels how the director intended for them to feel. Actors appealing to pathos aim to generate a certain emotion or response. Pathos can be expressed by actors through language, emotional tones, or emotional events/scenes.

These forms of persuasion help actors sell their characters immensely. Persuasion helps the audience to believe and understand the storyline and the overall dynamic of the production. Strong productions rely on the effective use of these persuasion techniques by the actors. By studying each form of persuasion, actors can learn how to better their styles and increase their overall credibility while on stage.

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