The Common Mistakes Amateur Actors Make
Mistakes—even the best actors make them. However you don't have to if you know what they are before the curtain rises.
To give you a "leg up" in your acting, we've compiled some of the most common errors committed by both amateur actors as well as thespians who have years in the business. Familiarise yourself with these mistakes, and you'll be more likely to avoid them when you take to the stage with your amateur dramatics society.
The Problem With Forgotten LinesAnything can happen when a live performance is involved. And those errors include forgotten lines. Whether the actors are simply rattled by something personal or their memories briefly "turn off", the end result is the same: a mistake where lines disappear into the other, and everyone on stage is stumped… if not panicked… at least for a few seconds.
If you find yourself in this circumstance, though, you needn't lose control. Relax, breathe, and just start talking "in character." Often, when you begin speaking, you can get yourself back on track and pick up where you left off in your acting.
Should you be working with an actor who forgets his or her lines, you can always help by jumping in to advance the dialogue in a natural manner to cover the mistake. If you don't show your anxiety, the audience will likely never realise what happened.
Acting And Stale PerformancesAfter performing the same drama, comedy, or musical several times with your amateur dramatics society, it's easy to fall into a complacent mode. Consequently, some actors find themselves giving very stale performances.
From an onlooker's standpoint, it's quite difficult to watch dull, unenthusiastic acting; after all, audience members want every actor to be excited about his or her part so that they can be excited, too.
To combat this problem of staleness, try to make every performance just a tad different than the last. Change the inflection of your voice, move slightly from your "normal" position on stage (as long as that's appropriate—you may want to check with your director first), or add a new element to your outfit, such as a brooch or scarf (again, discuss this with the costumer).
By making small changes, you'll infuse your acting with a sense of freshness that will help you stay alert during the entire show.
Don't Upstage Other ActorsIn comedies (it can occur in dramas, musicals, dance recitals, and operas, too. However, it's much more noticeable in comedies), one of the biggest errors is for actors to begin "upstaging" their colleagues, milking each opportunity for laughter and generally taking centre stage… even when it's rude or inappropriate.
Though the sound of an audience chuckling and clapping can be intoxicating, temper yourself on a regular basis. Be mindful that, unless you're in a one-man (or woman) show, the acting isn't all about you.
If you find yourself constantly playing for giggles, ask your director or a fellow thespian for assistance and advice. Chances are he or she can give you some pointers on how to stop the mistake of stealing the limelight from your fellow performers.
The Mistake Of Thinking Only of YourselfIn an amateur dramatics society, each actor has to be a part of the whole team; otherwise, strong bonds and true trust cannot form between the players and backstage workers.
Too often some performers begin to look inward, not outward. Consequently, they irritate others and get a reputation for being egotistical or arrogant.
When you agree to rehearse and perform as a part of a troupe, be sure to keep a "team" mentality throughout the entire experience. Help out, be kind, and stay focused on the overarching goal of the performance. That way, you'll be less likely to think of yourself and more likely to build long-lasting friendships.