5 Ways In Which Acting Class Surprised Me

summer 2016 acting class - production in progress signHey everyone! I just finished week five of my summer acting class and since there’s only one more week left, I thought this would be a great time to tell you some of the things I’ve learned in it! I’ve wanted to take an acting class for YEARS and so it’s been pretty cool to finally get the chance to do so – and to have it count as a gen ed course as well!

Since this is something I dreamed about for a long time, I naturally had a bunch of expectations, preconceived ideas, et cetera. So this post is all about the things that surprised me about acting class!

1. It’s strenuous

I have class three afternoons a week and while that originally made me sad because I wished it were more often… I’ve changed my mind. Not because I don’t love the class (I do!), but because I leave the theater building absolutely exhausted on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. It’s definitely not an “easy A” type of class!

2. It requires a constant, intense focus on what’s happening

You can’t let your attention wander – at all. This is why it’s so strenuous! The work you do here requires you to put forth your best effort physically, mentally, and emotionally. Imagination is a wonderful thing to have, and is key to acting, but if you daydream while you’re supposed to be practicing you’ll quick find yourself crashing and burning.

3. Everyone in the class bonds really quickly 

First of all, there are only thirteen people in the class, not including the instructor! Secondly, because acting requires so much concentration and effort, we spend a lot of time practicing and observing minute changes in our classmates’ actions and speech. In a little under six weeks, we’ve already grown more familiar with one another than I have with some of my classmates in semester-long classes.

4. Lines are actually quite easy to memorize

I was SO stressed out about this part of the class, because it’s worth a huge percentage of our grade. Happily, though, I memorized all my lines within about three weeks! (My partner and I are performing a scene from Proof by David Auburn, if you’re curious. I’m Catherine and she’s Claire.) It was a challenge, to be sure, but also quite doable. Between in-class practice, the three out-of-class practice sessions required each week, and any practice we do individually, it’s not all that hard to get the lines down quickly.

The tricky part is remembering everything else you’re supposed to be doing as you say the lines! From moving about the stage to changing the tone and volume of your voice, there sure is a lot to keep track of there… but it would be impossible to improve THAT unless you first had your lines memorized, so I’m glad that everything just sort of fell into place for me in that regard.

5. It improves writing skills

That’s what I think, at least! Lately we’ve had a bunch of assignments that ask us to identify a character’s objective, tactics, and more, or to break down a scene into units of action. All this is immensely helpful to think about in the context of my own stories. While I can’t say that I’m going to start writing every scene according to an outline of objectives and tactics, it’s definitely a useful thing to refer back to from time to time as I figure out what exactly it is that my characters want and how they could go about getting it.

-~

Have you ever taken an acting class? The one I’m currently in is one of my favorite classes I’ve ever taken, so I’d love to hear about what your experience was like! What was the most fun part? Was there anything that you really struggled with? (I struggle with yelling my lines at appropriate parts in the scene, for instance. I’M SO SHY AND SO THIS IS HARD FOR ME.) Be sure to let me know in the comments below!

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About nevillegirl

Elizabeth, University of Iowa class of 2019. Double majoring in English & Creative Writing and Journalism. Twenty-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, and aspiring writer. Passionate about feminism and lesbian positivity.
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9 Responses to 5 Ways In Which Acting Class Surprised Me

  1. How cool! Sounds like it was a great class. 🙂

  2. Evi says:

    I think I’d like to take an acting class someday, it sounds like a lot of work but also really fun! I’m trying to sign up for drama club for high school, so who knows, maybe I’ll love it!

  3. Heather says:

    This sounds like a fun class! I know that I would probably struggle with such a class because I’m super shy, too, and my mind wanders a lot. Which would be a good challenge for me but I also don’t really like being challenged so. I do think it’s interesting how it helps you with your writing! Studying the characters so you know how to portray them makes a lot of sense. I also have to imagine that practicing dialogue might make you more attuned to how something sounds. Gives a little credence to those authors who recommend acting out/reading out your manuscripts during editing. *nods appreciatively*

    • nevillegirl says:

      Right?! I’ve never been one to either act out or read aloud my writing while editing, but after taking this class I’m starting to think that I should, just to make sure that my dialogue etc doesn’t sound stilted.

  4. Pingback: Quarterly Rewind, Summer 2016 | Shura, Acting, & Studyblr | Musings From Neville's Navel

  5. Pingback: 20 Things I Did In 2016 That I’d Never Done Before | Musings From Neville's Navel

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