There was a mixture of first-timers and others with acting experience at Erik’s introduction to Acting workshop on the last Community Market until the Autumn. It was a whistle-stop tour of the kinds of activities actors use to prepare themselves for their roles, with Erik explaining the relevance of each exercise to the craft of acting. It was also great fun!
As soon as each person arrived, they were instructed to move round the room, greeting each other using a particular set formula. This, Erik explained was to help everyone get used to learning lines. From there, we moved onto loosening the body with a series of exercises – this was to trick the body into feeling relaxed, when the actor would naturally be keyed up for the performance. There followed a section on using the space, moving faster and faster without colliding.
The next part of the workshop involved selecting a character from a number of pictures displayed at the side, ‘getting into the character’ of the person depicted and improvising answers to questions asked by the other participants. This moved onto juxtaposing two characters and having them interact in role. The final part concentrated on voice and speech, loosening the diaphragm and mouth to be able to deliver lines effectively. It finished with a quick round of word association. Throughout, Erik guided and supported the participants in a safe, non-threatening environment. By the end of the session, even the ones who had never tried it before had acquitted themselves admirably, and all had enjoyed a fascinating glimpse into the secret life of actors.