As the semester draws to a close, I have had more time to learn acting in a multitude of contexts. I spent evenings reading other plays, watching musicals, and even planning outings to the theater. As I expanded my knowledge of the industry and the art within the canon, I also learned how my friends approach the media. We talk about everything from what we watch or read, where we see it and how much time we spend researching. There are so many different ways to get involved in a new room, and I wanted to list some of the processes that I found most interesting.
As an extremely busy person, when I have the time to read or watch plays and musicals, I find it difficult to choose. A few years ago, I created a list of all the media that I did not know yet, in an alphabetical and numbered list. Whenever I was having trouble deciding what to learn next, I would just use a random number generator and look at whatever the computer had chosen for me. It was a great way to read plays and watch musicals that I might never have heard of otherwise. Rather than going through a certain grade or a playwright, I was able to have a well-rounded theatrical field and really take risks with what I was going through.
While watching new shows, I like to research them. I usually look at the production history of the show as well as the cast that I watch. I also like to see what else this writer has written and what kind of criticism he has received. Especially if the show covers controversial topics, I enjoy exploring audience reactions back then and learning how people perceive the content both historically and in the present. I think it’s wonderful to see plays and musicals that laid the groundwork for future progress, and I love going back to the beginning to see what really inspires other artists.
Sometimes when I watch a play or musical I find a copy of the script to follow along with the story. When you miss that live aspect, that schedule, or that general guideline, it can be difficult to get a full view of what’s going on and really understand the material. There is a huge amount of information that can be lost in a recording, so I like to follow if I have any problems with the presentation. I can also see how the actors made choices, from what was in the script to how it was shown on stage. This process also helps me become a better performer.
I think it helps to be an informed member of the public when it comes to discovering new media in the theater. There is so much to learn beyond the source material, and all of it is vital for the greatest art on display. Taking this time to learn more about the content that interests you can allow for deeper conversations in the arts and a greater level of analysis in classical works.