Thursday, December 9, 2010
Step II: Work Ethic, Respect, Passion By Christina Bauer
I took the first acting class of my life this summer, Step I: Intro to Acting at Freehold Theatre. I had so much fun that I started Step II: Acting with Text this fall. I was ready to take those basic skills to the next level and work on a scene. What I hadn't prepared for was the teacher, Stefan Enriquez. From day one, Stefan’s work ethic, respect and passion for acting were infectious.
One of the first and fundamental skills I learned was the importance of work ethic. Being on time for class was not an option; it was a commitment I made. Once we were assigned our scenes, I read the full text of my play several times. In class we discussed our characters and scenes in detail. Through various reading assignments, we explored our character’s action, what our character wanted and the given circumstances of the scene. A crucial element was rehearsal with my scene partner outside of class. This preparation allowed me to benefit fully from the feedback of the instructor during class.
Another important skill I learned was about respect. Perhaps because some actors are so good at what they do, it’s easy to sometimes forget that acting is a craft. I have learned to respect this craft on a deeper level though analyzing the text and characters of scenes, then attempting to bring them to life. And I don’t just learn from doing, I learn from watching other students in their scenes. This class is all about creating a safe environment for actors to express themselves. I watch each scene with the same dedication that I give my own. Perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned that respect for my partner is crucial. The trust that I give to that person, and receive, is what allows me to explore my character and the scene to the fullest extent.
My favorite experience this fall has been being able to share Stefan’s passion for acting. One of the things I craved most when signing up for this class was detailed feedback. I love that Stefan will literally jump into a scene when he needs to. He will question me about my decisions - my movement, my words, my stakes in the situation. All of this information helps me explore the character's universe in a whole new way.
My partner and I were lucky enough to be assigned a scene from an Arthur Miller play, A View From The Bridge. After working on our scene for a while, I understood that my character went from being cordial to extremely angry. Stefan helped me explore in detail the given circumstances of the scene, and how incredibly high the stakes were for my character to fully express her frustration and anger. Without a doubt, this made that moment, and consequently the scene, much stronger.
The experience has completely inspired me and I look forward to more adventures in Step III: Scene Study Text this winter.
Christine Marie Brown will be teaching Step II: Acting with Text this coming Summer Quarter, 2014 at Freehold. More info at http://www.freeholdtheatre.org/summer-quarter-acting-classes-seattle-are-now-open-registration