A (newbie?) Actor’s Guide to Performance

An Actor’s Guide to Performance:


Hold for all laughs—real, expected, or imagined! If you don’t get one, face front and repeat the line louder. Failing this, laugh at it yourself.

Cultivate an attitude of hostility. Tension gets results—on stage and off.

A good performance, like concrete, should be molded quickly and then forever set.

Your first responsibility as an actor is to find your light.

Do not listen to your fellow actors on stage. It will only throw you.

Do not look at them either—you may not like what you see.

Always be specific—point to what you’re talking about.

If a line isn’t working for you, change it.

Stage Managers are NOT actors—ignore them. Keep them alert by never arriving on time or signing in.

Never be afraid to ad-lib to get attention, especially if you feel the leads aren’t very entertaining.

Mistakes are never your fault.

Always find something to bitch about, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Your fellow actors will respect your professional attention to detail.

Never carry make-up—someone will have what you need.

Never help understudies. (They secretly hate you and want your job)

Do help your fellow actors by giving them notes whenever you feel necessary.

And give the notes immediately before they go on—it will be fresher that way.

Speak your lines as if the audience had difficulty understanding the language.

Keep other performers on their toes by ridiculing their performances, and never let them know what you’re going to do next.

Play the reality—always be aware of the audience and whether you think they like the show, then gauge your performance accordingly. Why knock yourself out for ungrateful snobs?

The only difference between an amateur and a pro is that the pro does exactly the same thing for money.

Need a character? Get a costume.

Never change anything that is working, no matter how wrong or phony it may seem.

When in doubt about an ad-lib, go “whoo”!

Go up on a line? Clap twice, look at the audience, and giggle.

Even if a piece of “shtick” doesn’t work, keep using it. The important thing is for you to have fun and feel good about yourself.

(Dear newbies, If you take this seriously, you’ll probably get punched on the first day. This is just for laughs! None of this is to be taken seriously!)

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