Art of Acting

By Chris Moxon

Acting takes an investment of time, creativity, and skills to become great. Hard work is needed though the profession has an unshakeable misconception that actors and actresses just show up and read lines. No one understands this misconception more than the cast in the College of Southern Nevada’s community play“Ah, The Wilderness”directed by CSN Professor Doug Baker.

Caitlin Shea, the actress who plays the role of Belle, feels that the misunderstanding begins with the idea that there is no effort in acting. Shea continues, “I think what people underestimate is the amount of work and drive it take to be in this industry because you get told ‘no’ a lot.”

Tony Vivio, a student at CSN who plays the role of Arthur Miller, explains the life of an actor. “Every actor has a different way of going about doing things. For me, I live and breathe acting every day. I study everything from breathing techniques to character development.”

When the topic of nervousness is discussed Vivio says, “If you think standing in front of hundreds of people without a single nerve is possible, I think you’re surely mistaken. It’s more nerve wracking if you’re not nervous.”

The balance of school, work, and finding time to master their love for acting is another matter. Sabina Carr, who plays the role of Essie Miller, explains that academics come first; the play and her social life come second.

Shea also weighs in, “With my job I kind of have a flexible schedule, but a lot of this is done during the evening, like tonight where we are rehearsing when everybody is off work and school. So I think it’s just a delicate balance in finding the hours even if its midnight or 1 a.m.”

The hours of practice are needed to develop acting techniques, to do breathing exercise and manage nerves, to learn to stay in character while memorizing complex lines, and rehearsing to prepare for the show. Student actors must manage their time well in order to balance school, work, and life.

Another challenge actors face is connecting with their characters and making them believable. Vivio explains that a major challenge for actors and actresses is finding empathy for the character. He feels the audience will accept characters when the performers are physically and emotionally connected to their roles.

Most actors love the profession because it affords them an opportunity to be transported into a narrative and take on a fictional character’s life.

“At night when I come to rehearsals I can just step away from my life and take on this little paradise for a while,” Shea says.

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