Are you ready?
Are you ready to learn that being excited about getting up in front of people does not, by itself, make you interesting to watch?
Are you ready to read all assignments for the dates when they are assigned, and read them not just once, but until you feel that you have an understanding of what they say? Are you willing to take responsibility for finding all the texts in question, even when it takes some work to do so?
Are you ready to listen to lectures?
Are you ready to learn a framework for studying a script, a robust framework, a framework that is not a set of blanks to be filled in, like a tax form, but a series of prompts for imaginative exploration?
Are you ready to learn about objectives? Underlying objectives and plot objectives? Physical plot objectives and psychological plot objectives and psychophysical plot objectives, and what the differences are? Not just to hear these distinctions once, but to study them, master them, so that you understand the criteria involved, are FLUENT in the criteria involved, so that you can actually use them in your work, they are not just some words you wrote in your notebook one time?
Are you ready study a script fastidiously, obsessively, extracting information about your character and her world, rearranging that information so that you can view it from a first person perspective, filling in the the gaps left by the script, so that you can genuinely feel that you have some sense of who the person is you purport to be playing?
Are you ready to have the holes in your preparation exposed in front of the class?
Are you ready to be a good scene partner, turning around phone calls and emails to arrange rehearsals outside of class promptly and courteously? Are you ready to be accommodating to your scene partner? Are you ready to partner and collaborate? Are you ready to recognize that your partner is an autonomous artist and is not waiting for direction from you? Are you ready to show up on time for rehearsals? Are you ready to work diligently and avoid getting off topic and talking about your personal problems in rehearsal?
Are you ready to memorize your lines perfectly, by the date given for this to be accomplished?
Are you ready to accept that you will not go up in class every week, that watching and listening will be the most important means of learning in the class?
Are you willing to find clothing for rehearsal that will help you enter the world of the character, including shoes, and bring those clothes to EVERY rehearsal and change into them? Are you willing to find and bring props that will help you create the environment that the scene takes place in and bring those props to every rehearsal?
Are you willing to do what is necessary to secure a place to rehearse that is conducive to productivity and concentration? If necessary, to contribute to renting a rehearsal space (by the hour) so that you and your scene partner have a neutral ground to rehearse in where you won’t be interrupted?
Are you willing not to skip weeks of rehearsal, to forego the temptation to skip the week after you get up in class, instead recognizing that after you have gotten feedback is when you need to immediately plunge back in to rehearsal?
Are you ready to listen actively in class, thinking about how the discussion and feedback might be applicable to you?
Are you prepared to support and encourage your classmates?
Are you ready to spend time alone, daydreaming productively, particularizing and investing in the world of the character and the relationships in which he is involved? Work that you will not get any kind of immediate or direct confirmation that it is valuable or that you are doing it right?
Are you ready to show up for class even though you didn’t get enough sleep last night and feel like maybe you should stay home and catch up?
Are you ready to make asked-for adjustments, trusting that even if you don’t see the point of them, you may see the point of them once you make them?
Are you ready to learn that they don’t call acting a craft for nothing, that it is very difficult, much more difficult than the actors on your favorite TV show make it seem? Those actors are no doubt very skilled, and their work is packaged by skilled directors, editors, and others who make it look easy; are you prepared to accept that it isn’t easy at all?
Are you ready to recognize that while there are some rules of thumb to learn, what is really valuable in the end is developing an instinct for good ways of looking at things and good choices, and developing such instincts requires sustained effort over time and an enormous amount of repetition of the process?
Are you willing to recognize that “being in the moment” or “being vulnerable” or “engaging physically” are not things you can make a simple decision to “do”, but are skills that involve a lot of preparation and practice to do in any deep or meaningful way, and that developing any skill in them at all will require enormous, sustained dedication?
These are the things that will be asked of you in class at Andrew Wood.
“Nothing any good isn’t hard.”–F. Scott Fitzgerald