A Semester’s Reflection
Acting had always been an interest of mine but the only real experience I had was childhood acting in middle school plays and being in a show choir in high school (yes it does involve acting). I always had this dream of becoming an actress and often found myself imagining what it would be like to play a certain role in the TV shows and movies I watched. But I never really dove into the art of acting, never ripped it to pieces and tried to understand it from the inside out. I was, in fact, always on the outside of it and if not for this class, that’s probably where I would have remained. This class has taught me the true art of it and shown me the dark sides to acting as well as the light sides. It has showed me how beautiful acting can be and how truly easy it is to be an emotional actor.
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What came easy for me in this class was a lot of the improvisational work. I found that I was so much more realistic and genuine in my acting when I thought of something out of the blue and immediately started acting it out. It kept me on my toes and it really allowed me to think outside the box. Another thing that came easily was following my impulses. If I got an impulse to do something and it was a good impulse I followed it, or if it weren’t a good impulse, I would let it pass. I think that this is an important part of acting because without the impulses to do something in a scene you really don’t have any sort of connection to what you’re doing, you don’t feel the scene, you’re not emotionally with it.
That’s another thing I was good with, playing with emotions. Emotions are something that comes easily to me and I think that without emotions anything you do is dead. There’s emotion in everything and if I were to be acting without emotion the scene just wouldn’t make sense. I think that with my monologue, emotions were so mixed and so confusing but so real. They were strong and they took over the scene completely. But it was hard for me to really pull back from my own emotions and truly get into the character and how they would react to something emotionally.
What I found rather difficult in this course was disembodying myself to transform into the character. I think that this is something really good actors can do easily and I would like to improve on this. I think that it’s important to truly be the character your playing because then their emotions come through, their reactions, their feelings, not yours. I think that when you’re not fully in the character and with the character acting it out can be awkward and I think that that is detrimental to a performance. This is something I would like to continue to work on because I believe it is a vital asset in acting. To be able to completely embody a character and feel everything that they would feel, and know, and want, and need.
I met challenges throughout the entire semester because acting was my challenge; everything about it. It completely forced me to step out of my comfort zone and do something I am not used to doing. Especially with my monologue, it was an extremely uncomfortable scene to perform and to be honest I dreaded every second of rehearsing and performing it. But I did it! I did it and I did it with every ounce of my being. And to be completely honest I wouldn’t have done it any other way. To start off with something so challenging for me has really allowed me to feel everything there is to acting; all the uncomfortable feelings and how hard it can actually be. But it was great. It was so far from me as my own person that I had to fully embody the character in order to make any of that scene actually work.
It was interesting working with a partner. I knew it would be different from working on a monologue but I underestimated just how much work it would be and just how much rehearsal time would have to go into it. I think that you definitely have to be able to tolerate the person you’re working with too because then you are willing to grow off of each other and that’s also very important in making a scene work.
Kaity and I work well together. We were willing to listen to what each other had to say or suggest and were comfortable in trying new things that we weren’t used to. We would bounce ideas off of each other and spend a lot of time working on different things to figure out which way to do a certain part of the scene was best. I think that working with a partner is great! It’s one more mind and one more brain full of ideas and input to make a scene so much better. We would intently discuss what we were suggested in class by others and then try and see how it worked in our scene during rehearsal time. Kaity and I put a lot of heart into our rehearsals. We knew how serious it was to make the most out of our time and used every bit of it to help ourselves grow and get better.
I remember working with her during one rehearsal and we just rambled off a bunch of “what if’s.” Well what if I took the beer as you were about to take a sip. Well what if my feet were on the table when you walked in. Well what if I walked over here, etc. etc. It was just a brainstorm of ideas and we went through them and some of them really worked, and some of them really didn’t, but it was all trial and error and it was beautiful. Working with a partner is teamwork and you have to be willing to take input from the other person without getting mad as well as give input to the other person.
From the beginning of the semester to now it amazes me how much I’ve grown. I am so much more comfortable with myself performing a scene, especially in front of an audience. I remember that at the beginning of the semester I was so uncomfortable to even speak up in class or act out the improv games that we would do in the beginning of class and now I give every bit of my being into it. This class has given me a lot to think about for future if I ever do end up pursuing acting. It’s given me the essential skills to make any of that possible. I know that if I’m ever given a character to play, how to make the best of it and how to follow impulses and completely engulf myself into a scene. There is still work that needs to be done, like embodying the character, but there will always be room for improvement. That’s what any skill-learning is, it’s constant improvement and a constant learning process. I will continue to find things to work on and improve upon but at least I can say that I have improved from where I was at the beginning of this semester in September. Thank you for everything you have taught me, teaching is a priceless gift and so irreplaceable, and I am so grateful to have learned and acquired the skills I have.