Close your eyes and imagine you are somewhere else. Concentrate. How do you feel at this place? Now I want you to demonstrate what you’ve experienced using no phyiscal movement. You could use your breath, your facial expressions, but do not mime your situation. Got it? Good. Now show me.
At the University of La Verne, there is a class called “Theatre, Acting, and Performance”, which is instructed by Professor Steven Kent. It’s a beginners acting class, so most people just assume that there’s nothing to it. However, being in this class has changed many ways of how I interpret and interact in this world, and were not even close to mid terms yet. When I first signed up for the class, I didn’t think much of it either, infact I thought it was going to be an easy A. On the first day, Professor Kent walks in as many of us are sitting in chairs, we were thinking we were just going to talk about theatre, however he looks up and stops. When he sees us he gives a funny look and he asks, “Why are you sitting on chairs? Sit on the floor.”
I knew then that this man was crazy. Though in theatre, the more crazy you are the better I suppose. Since then, everyday in the class we would start with a check in and end the day with a check out, both involve you introducing yourself and how you are feeling at the moment. The majority would start off stressed, hungry, or tired, yet somehow in the next hour and a half the stressed were calmed, the tired were energized, and the hungry were distracted. We never did anything I thought I would do in a class before, mostly we played games. Some of them were games with bouncy balls, others were games of concentration, one time we just spent the time in class simply laying on the floor breathing. Not at all anything I expected to do in a class room. Though soon enough I discovered that we were all being Mr. Miyagied. The games became lessons of improve and even the task of breathing had taught us how to control our diaphram as we learned toungue twisters and songs that demanded us to perfectly pronounce each word. Thats all we did, we played games, watched plays, and enjoyed the hour and a half that was given to us each class session.
I’ll admit, in the beginning, I felt stupid, incecure, and I thought that I wasn’t doing anything right. This changed though as we went to sit down for check out and Professor Kent told us, “You guys are holding back. I need you to to let go. Don’t be afraid to look stupid cause you already know that you are going to anyways so you might as well go for it. Insecurity allows you all to hide but in theatre you can’t hide, there’s nowhere to hide.” This affected me. I would walk into to class and feel so wound up from life and my responsibilities though as soon as we started one of the many games I could pretend for that next hour and a half that I was a kid again playing pretend. I could be anywhere I wanted to be, I could be anyone I wanted to be. So I acted silly, I acted like many things. For the short while, my childish insticts were released and I was happy cause I didn’t have to care how I looked or behaved, I just had to react. So for anyone interested in theatre or just looking to have some stress released and enjoy the lessons theatre has taught me so far, I suggest you take “Theatre, Acting, and Performance” instructed by Professor Steven Kent.