Why train?

Acting is truth. Acting is the illusion of truth.

Acting looks so easy. Is it madness, or reality?

Unlike the special effects of computerized technology, a live performer doesn’t have obvious upfront cost. All you need is the brass neck to get up there and do your stuff. Right?

Anyone can perform, sing, give a speech or dance without specialized training. If the reason is pure self expression, that that is reason enough to do it, but not reason enough to expect a paying audience. If the reason is to communicate ideas, tell stories, share experiences, entertain or – dare I say it – enlighten, then an element of skill is required.

Imagine coming away from a performance with the foremost thought in your mind: “what a good actor ‘so-and-so’ is!” What did that actor communicate to you? That he/she is a good actor! Now imagine coming out of a theatre or cinema, or turning away from the television and thinking about the characters, their lives, the ideas and issues they had to deal with.

What you saw in that case WAS almost certainly good acting.

Performers need to train their bodies, voices, ears, brains, hearts and souls so that they can give us the illusion that they really are a whole host of different characters, living vastly different lives and experiencing huge passions and concepts which we relate to, and from which we gain insight into our own lives and experiences.

The stamina, flexibility, growth and self awareness gained in the process of such training wouldn’t do the rest of us any harm either.

Flloyd Kennedy

(first published in West End Neighbourhood News. Issue No 72. February 2000).