I Took An Acting Class This Semester & This is Why You Should Too

I took an acting class this semester for the main reason of getting my last art credits in, but also because it is something that I’ve always wanted to try. Acting is defined as “living truthfully under imaginary circumstances." My teacher repeats this definition to us almost every class. She also repeats that “acting is just play” and “you can’t be a lady or a gentleman and be an actor." I never thought about acting in this way before, but I’ve also never tried it, so I was excited to be out of my element with such a diverse group of people.

You get to go out of your comfort zone.

At first, I was confused about what we would be doing in class when I found out that it was two hours long. The first week was a lot of “get to know each other games." What I liked about the games was that they weren’t boring ice breakers, but ones where you had to work together as a team and play around with people we just met. Our class only has about sixteen people so we needed to know everyone’s names right away.

In class, we also learn how much work goes into warming up. Once we all got more comfortable with each other, I could tell our teacher’s focus went more into our warmup. We have to warm up our voices and bodies by doing multiple exercises. Most of them might seem silly and unnecessary, but I’ve come to trust that our teacher knows what is best. We warm up our voices by making weird sounds in different tones and warm up our bodies by tensing, then relaxing muscles and practicing yoga.

You gain a greater appreciation for art.

For an assignment, we’ve recently had to see the play The Wolves at the Theatre Building so we could write a paper on it. With an all-female cast, it was a type of play that I’ve never seen before, but I was so happy that I got to! I know I wouldn’t have gone to see this play or any others at the University of Iowa and I’m looking forward to seeing the next play we have to see for class, Sunday in the Park. We recently each got assigned a monologue from a play that we have to memorize and perform in front of the class in March. Our teacher also assigned us all scene partners and a play that we have to memorize scenes from for our final exam grade. I’ve enjoyed reading the plays and wish I had more free time so I could read others.

You learn themes not taught in any other classes.

The best piece of knowledge that I’ve gained from this class so far is when we learned that talent doesn’t exist. In our class book by Melissa Bruder, she states that: “As an actor, you should never concern yourself with “talent." Talent, if it exists at all, is completely out of your control. Whatever talent might be, you either have it or you don’t, so why waste energy worrying about it? The only talent you need to act is a talent for working, in other words, the ability to apply yourself in learning the skills that make up the craft of acting.” I liked how this could apply to other abilities other than acting. It helps me believe I can still be successful with hard work, even if I’m out of my comfort zone.

Image Credit: GIF1, GIF2