Body language is crucial to an outstanding performance. As an actor, it's your job to master your space. Get to know and understand 'personal space bubbles'. These vary culture to culture and person to person, but in general there are four distinctions:
Intimate space is close enough to reach out and touch or kiss someone. We generally reserve this space for family, lovers, and very close friends. Crossing into someone's intimate space when you're not intimate with them is an aggressive move. On stage, this means that you should, in general, stand close to your character's partner or spouse. Subtle non verbal cues (i.e., touching your partner on their back or arm) is often part of this close space bubble. Use the taboo of crossing the intimate space bubble when you want to dominate, intimidate, and manipulate your fellow characters.
Personal space is the most common space bubble zone we use. You can easily reach out to shake hands with someone and the distance makes conversation easily heard. We use this space when talking to friends or colleagues. It's also a space bubble used at parties and other social gatherings. A first meeting would definitely fall into this category. Entering someone's personal space bubble is a request to talk with you.
Social space is often used with people whom you feel are not a threat but you don't really want to interact with them. Parties, networking events, and large events fall into this category. You can notice this space bubble when looking at a room filled with people. Generally, you'll see small groups emerge in the crowd. These are the social circles; people who know each other or who want to know each other. Moving into someone's social space is a request to be noticed, and is most often used when flirting.
Public space is used with total strangers, particularly when you're unsure of the outcome of the situation. This space bubble leaves enough room between you and other people to make use of your fight or flight mechanism. You have the opportunity to see the other person's entire body, their hand gestures and posture, giving you a chance to 'read' them before you interact with them. Fight scenes often begin in a public space bubble.
Knowing and making use of these space bubbles on stage will give your performance depth and a true sense of reality.
There are a number of things an actor can do to prep for rehearsals. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your rehearsal time!
Read the Play - Read the entire script, front to end. Don't focus on your character or lines, just get a feel for the overall play.
Prepare your Script - While it's easy these days to try and work with a script in digital form, it's best if you print up a copy. This way, you can take notes during each rehearsal. Take the time to run a highlighter over your dialogue lines - but don't highlight the stage directions. They're apt to be modified a bit to fit the venue you'll be in. Post-it tabs are a great tool to mark the beginning of each of your scenes so they're quick and easy to find.
Script Analysis - Think about building your character. This is a process you'll work with your director on, but the more ideas you bring to the rehearsals, the better. Understanding your character's motivations is important to bring the play to life.
Look at the Production Schedule - Make sure your personal agenda is up to date with all your meetings and commitments. Check to ensure you can make each rehearsal. If you see a scheduling problem, tell the director right away. Give your team time to change things around so everyone is present when needed.
Be early - Rehearsal time is valuable, not just for you but also for all the people working on the project. Come 10 minutes early to get your hello's out of the way so your rehearsal time is used for rehearsing, not catching up with your fellow actors.
Remove all distractions - Turn off you phone and other devices. Forget about the problem at work, or in your personal life. You are no longer you once rehearsals begin. Give yourself a little time to warm up before each rehearsal, too. It will help to focus your mind on your role.
Bring your agenda - Rehearsal scheduling can change; be ready to discuss when you're available!
Clothing - Wear loose and comfortable clothing, and shoes that don't restrict your movement.
Bring your script and analysis - It should seem obvious, but it's easy to forget your script if you head out early in the day. Remember to bring your analysis, too. As you work through the scenes, you'll have your analysis close at hand so you can easily reference it.
Pencils and erasers - Expect changes. Don't bother using a pen; you'll end up with a mess on your script. Pencils are easier!
Be ready to have fun and be open to all ideas about your character. You'll get the most out of your rehearsals!
Tonight is the last night of auditions. Don't worry; there's still time! Email REST at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a copy of the sample text and let us know you'll be attending. Address: Burgemeester S'Jacobplein 1, Rotterdam. Time: 19:30.
I had an opportunity to meet the group last night. What a wonderful bunch of talented people! I'm truly excited to see so many new faces and hear everyone's backstory. The enthusiasm in the air was infectious, and I was sad to have to leave due to an early appointment - but I'm really looking forward to working on this production.
Now's the time to let us know you want to be involved. We need help backstage, too, so let us know what you'd have fun doing!
Auditions are almost here! REST is holding open auditions on Tuesday 2 April and Wednesday 3 April, 19:30. Address: Burgemeester S'Jacobplein 1, Rotterdam. Please email us at email@example.com to receive a copy of the sample text and let us know what night you'll be attending.
Every actor needs to warm up their mouth before performing. If English is your second (or third, or fourth!) language, this is especially important. Stage actors need to be very clear in their enunciation; otherwise, the story gets lost. So here's a link to 50 tongue twisters to improve your English and get you ready for Tuesday and Wednesday!
50 Tongue Twisters to Improve your English