How many years have you been working in your field?
Describe what you do.
I act in the theater. Basically, I take the words written in a play, and under the direction of a director, I develop a character who communicates to the audience. This character has to be believable. To do so, I study her internal motivations. I use that to replicate her feelings and actions on the stage.
Describe how you do it.
How do I act? First, I read the entire script so that I know the place of my character within the entire play. Then, I study the script. I looking for clues as to why the character thought this or did that. After I’ve learned more about the character, I start memorizing. Memorizing accurately is important to acting. I once had to memorize a 45 page monodrama (monodrama means a performance by one person = I memorized 45 pages and performed them by myself). The process of putting on a play takes a few weeks. During these weeks, I’m rehearsing with my fellow actors. We learn our actions, our lines, our movements, our costume changes, etc. while improving as the director asks. The director may tell me to rethink a line and say it while feeling a different emotion. He may adjust how I walk across the stage, so that my movement draws the audience to look toward something important.
Describe why you do it.
I act to use my unique power to influence, and I act for the teamwork. When I act, I’m creating something unique. I have the power to sway the emotions and thoughts of an audience. To hear them sniffle back tears, to hear them silent with tension, to laugh til their sides ache–the power and artistic talent to affect them. Sometimes, they applauded at the end, but even if they don’t, I’ve affected them. And concerning the teamwork, it’s like a big family. Each actor and stage crew member LOVES what they do, and creating this story together by exposing their internal emotions on stage, that makes us close.
What was the first step you took to become what you are now?
I wanted to be a better communicator, so I pursued Speech Communications in college. My college ending up changing the degree from a communications degree to a performance degree. So, I began taking theater classes for my degree. I had acted since middle school in church productions, but hadn’t seen it as a viable career. While in college, I recognized the gift I had for acting and my LOVE for it. I loved creating a character, performing before an audience and feeling their captivation, and working with a team to artistically portray a message. Because I loved acting so much, I was good with the long hours and dedication each production required. I then earned a Master’s degree in Performance, started touring with acting groups, and moved to Atlanta to continue acting in theaters.
What do you wish you had paid more attention to in school?
To asking questions and doing deeper research!! I didn’t want to seem ignorant in front of my college classmates, especially since I had been homeschooled so they already saw me as naive. If I had asked about costuming the Victorian era, or how to communicate a ‘wistful’ feeling, etc. then I would have learned SO MUCH more. Instead, I had to keep reading about my profession after college. And with research, instead of doing enough to complete the project, I wish I had read more books, papers, and websites far beyond what was needed. It’s been hard since college to find free, available resources for advice when I want to take my acting further.