Acting is an art form that has been around since before written records kept. It has evolved since then, with modern theater, film, and television productions requiring a cast of dedicated professional performers. Stage acting has a unique set of ethics and rules of engagement that must be followed in order to be successful and maintain one’s credibility in the acting world.
One of the most important aspects of stage acting is the ethical behavior expected of performers. Actors must always keep their professionalism and the respect of their colleagues and the audience in the forefront of their minds. This is done by behaving in a courteous and professional manner, which includes being punctual, taking direction, adhering to production rules and regulations, and showing respect for all cast and crew members. Misbehaving will only serve to damage and devalue one’s reputation as an actor.
A great actor must also have an understanding of their craft and the processes necessary to perform a given role. Professional actors must be familiar with acting theory, such as Stanislavski’s System, which requires an in-depth understanding of the script. They must also understand their role in the grand scheme of the play – what the director, designers, and other technicians are doing to create the production. Actors should also be well-rehearsed and familiar with the script in order to make the performance as natural, believable, and engaging as possible.
In order to bring a believable performance to life, stage actors must possess a strong knowledge of the script, their character, and the dynamics of the theatrical setting. They must be able to think critically, analyze their character’s motivations, and react honestly to their fellow actors. They must be physically, socially, and emotionally prepared for every role, allowing them to nail the most difficult, dramatic, and sometimes comedic lines and scenes. This not only requires great dedication, but also a deep psychological understanding of human behavior and the challenges faced by characters in all types of roles.
The Importance of Respect and Altruism
One of the key elements of successful stage acting is respect – not only for fellow actors, but also for the audience, creative team, and production staff. Mutual respect enables actors to work together as a cohesive unit, trust and support one another, and ultimately create a meaningful and memorable experience. It is important for actors to treat everyone and every situation with mutual respect.
Stage acting also requires a certain level of altruism – putting the needs of the production above personal concerns or interests. This courtesy ensures that everyone on the production is working together towards a common goal and not just looking out for their own interests. It also requires actors to have a larger view of the production – to consider the story, the character arcs, and the overall goal of the production.
Staying Connected to One’s Authentic Self
Part of successful stage acting is being able to remain true to oneself while taking on a character. This involves staying connected to an actor’s core essence, beliefs, and emotional responses. Maintaining this type of connection ensures that the performance is honest and genuine, and will resonate with audiences on an emotional level. This connection is also essential for maintaining a successful artistic relationship with other actors and production staff during the run of the performance.
Maintaining a Professional Reputation
As with any professional, an actor must value their reputation and maintain good relations with casting directors and other actors. This includes taking all feedback constructively, attending rehearsals and performances on time, and being open to changes that the director may suggest. Ultimately, the goal is to create a high quality and successful show, and actors can contribute to that success by being reliable, responsible, and respectful.
Stage acting is a rewarding, but challenging profession that requires dedication, skill, and an understanding of the ethical and artistic nuances involved. Those who establish and maintain strong ethical and artistic principles will have the best chance for success. From building relationships and staying true to one’s self, to understanding and respecting the production team, actors should strive to create their best work, while remaining professional and respectful in every situation.