WHAT NOT TO CHOOSE - PLAYS
Choosing play texts and excerpts from a play is difficult. This is my personal advice for the apprentice actor.
Some plays and some playwrights were banned on my acting course - as Pinter, Beckett. Some texts will 'deskill' you. Some texts are beyond what can be achieved on this type of acting course - in the time available. You must MOVE UP TO THE NEXT LEVEL AND THE NEXT CHALLENGE. DO CHOOSE a character that you can play - within your age range. You should avoid certain texts because (a) these plays are too difficult a challenge within the limits of this acting course, or (b) the character is too restrictive ('boxed-in') or not enough of an adult challenge for you, or (c) the style of the play is too technically challenging.
The 'deskill' danger is that you could work very hard and your work yields diminishing returns. Or the character is not worth spending all that time on Or the style of the play is just not achievable in the limits of your acting course.
DO NOT write a piece for yourself. This exists only by itself. You have to engage with professional playwriting, and with the tradition and history and genre of this text.
DO NOT choose an excerpt from a play by Pinter, Beckett, Strindberg, Chekhov.
Such plays demand a high professional standard of acting, and the characters are usually older than the range you are expected to play. These plays are deceptive - they demand the highest acting skills.
Sometimes so little seems to be going on there on the stage, but a good professional production gives the audience so much. These plays demand a great deal of detailed work, voice work, and a lot of rehearsal time. They need to be seen in their entirety.
Excerpts from them just do not work (within the restrictions of this type of course).
(3) SCHOOL AND COLLEGE TEXTS
DO NOT choose a play or an excerpt from a play you have worked with at school or college or a play which is on the school - college drama curriculum.Be more adventurous! Move on! Choose something to suit you! Get reading!
(UK) Do not choose from 'Top Girls' or 'My Mother Said' or 'My Country's Good' or similar.
These plays have their crucial place in apprentice work at school and college. Drama teachers are most often dedicated and very good at their jobs. You have probably done some very praiseworthy and interesting and challenging work at school and college. These playwrights are famous and rightly admired. Now you move on.
So - do not revisit school texts. And these are not suited to the characters you need to create on this acting course.
Also - there are some texts (including poetry and novels) which have their vital place in cultural and personal development for teenagers, and specially in the school & college curriculum. They are intimately connected with teenage culture (angst and suicidal feelings even) and progressing to adult maturity. But your character work is on adult characters now.
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This site gives advice about: 'ACTING 101' - FIRST YEAR OF ACTING TRAINING
You have experience of acting in school or pre-university courses? Here is advice for a college or university acting course. Or for an acting school.
This 'ACTING 101' course plan aims at achievable results for a wide range of students.
ADVICE FROM ALAN BECK - FIRST STEPS TO ACTING TRAINING
'ACTING 101' - FIRST YEAR ACTING TRAINING
BEFORE THE PERFORMANCE BEGINS - REHEARSAL AND PREPARATION
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Web sites for acting courses in London Agents, resumes and other information From - Jones, Ellis, Teach Yourself Acting, 1998, London: Teach Yourself Books. Suggested reading list
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