5 Acting Activities to Perform in 5 Minutes

IMG_8778Here’s a typical scenario: You’ve been assigned an acting scene in your high school theatre class. Your cast has worked the scene multiple times, adding new stuff with each run. You look at the clock and you realize you have five more minutes to rehearse. How can you maximize your time? 

1. Run your lines, again

Run your lines multiple times in multiple ways. This is especially helpful if you are freshly off-book. Do them with funny accents. Do them while whispering. Do them quickly without “acting.” Scream them [make sure you are in a location that will welcome this.] 

2. Do some homework

Not for your physics class, but for your acting scene. Look up every word you aren’t sure the meaning of, because you can’t act a word you don’t understand. Of course you know you were supposed to do this when you first received your scene, but sometimes we let things slide. Harness the power of your smartphone and look it up. How does it affect the scene now? 

3. Work your back story

Who is your character? What happened to her as a child? What activity did he love during summer? This essential character background is often NOT found in the script, but scouring it is the first place to begin. Of course all choices must make sense for your character…Tell your scene partner three things about your character and have her do likewise. These should be new–now be sure to “add” this into your next run-through. 

4. Run your into, again

Do you know how to pronounce the playwright’s name? What about the title? Double check this! Rehearse your slate [film acting term for saying your first and last name loudly] again. 

  • Slates in our theatre sound like this: “Hi, my name is Sandra Brown, and I will be performing an original monologue entitled, ‘How I Learned to Give My Cat a Bath.”

5. Get Your Elevator Speech Ready

In the world of business, if you can successfully pitch your idea to the company president from the time the elevator door closes, goes up two flights, and then opens, you may make that all-important sale. The same goes for your scene. What does your character want in the scene? What happens in your scene? Summarize your scene in less than five sentences. 

Saved by the bell…

Congrats, you have just maximized your rehearsal time. Now your teacher thinks you are rock stars and the other students are still reeling from the yelled line-thru…

Leave a Comment or Offer Some Sage Advice Below

How else can you use this tiny bit of time for good? What advice do you have for the end of a rehearsal?

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Categories: Acting

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19 replies

  1. Number 1 always helps me memorize lines or a speech, especially whispering it. Practicing in different accents sounds interesting and fun, I will be sure to try it

  2. I agree with Sal! It’s true when you are told to perform something and have no idea what it means it can get a little complicated! The smart thing to do would be to do some research on it, these tips were helpful!

  3. Like Hannah I also think that running through our lines over and over will help me perform my credo. I want to deliver my story clearly and confidently so my message gets through to the audience. Yeeek I’m getting nervous just thinking about it! Time for lots of practice practice practice!

  4. Like everyone else said, that memorization tip goes long ways! I’ve been rehearsing my lines in different tones of voice and it truly helps! Thanks Rillingale.

  5. I’d like to add to Selena’s comment! I too believe that running your lines can be a very helpful trick. I think this will help me perform my Credo performance. My Credo may be my own words but I want to be able to know what I’m going to say next to keep my story moving along.

  6. Sal, I completely agree with you. It makes no sense to me that someone would think to simply memorize their lines and not know what they’re saying. Knowing your lines is only half the act, you need to sell the scene.

    • Actors are always selling something, aren’t they? We use acting every day. When we ask our parents for something, when we ask that girl out for the first time…

  7. i think the 5 tips are all impotent, specially the first tip -running your lines again. always good to remember. these tips could give a good start in getting ready to perform.

  8. Well thanks for these 5 really helpful steps… I’d like to back up Sal on this, doing your homework on what ever your working on always helps whether its Theatre or any other school relative work.

  9. I remember when we doing Love of Three Oranges this really helped.

  10. Reblogged this on Finding the "Method" in My Madness and commented:
    This is helpful! Need to work on my elevator pitch!

  11. These tips were extremely helpful. Not only do they relate to theatre but they can also be used for other classes. Tip number one is especially universal because it explains memorization techniques that can be used inside and outside of the classrrom.

  12. These five key steps to cover are very helpful. The one that caught my eye was the second that refers to looking up words you do not know. When you perform you want to be able to sell your scene and understanding the script in essential in doing so. Knowing one extra word can add just a little more excitement to your scene and make it that much better. Thanks for the advice!

    • Thanks Sal. Professional actors do their homework–it’s a sheer delight seeing a student actor really sell the scene to the audience.

    • Couldn’t agree more! What is the point of knowing your lines when you’ll be saying them in a monotone voice? But you really should know your lines and sell them at the same time.

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