An 8 Week Acting Challenge

The 8 week acting challenge:

Are you ready to take it to the next level in your craft?

There’s something that has come up in nearly every interview I have filmed for the college audition program (with both actors and acting teachers)…and while it may seem obvious, most actors don’t do it enough.

It’s reading great plays.  

Every actor benefits, whether you want to work on the stage or not–here are a few (of seemingly infinite reasons) to read great plays:

  • It works your imagination which is a muscle that can actually get very weak if you aren’t flexing it regularly.  Watching films and tv is fine, but it doesn’t use your imagination in the same way reading does.  You brain gets to build all the images–and this skill is vital to an actor.
  • Discovering great writers whose work inspires you or resonates
  • Learning about styles of writing
  • See what components make up a great play
  • You get the play in its “pure” form–exactly as the writer intended it–no actors, directors, etc, since a live production is actually an interpretation
  • It’s fun
  • It’s usually a quick read
  • Finding material or you want to work on
  • Get a window into another period of time in history–discover the humanity in the issues of the time

So–back to the acting challenge!  What would happen if you read a play a week for 8 weeks?   The only way to find out is to give it a try!

If you don’t know where to start, here is a list of some great playwrights.  You can find lots of plays online (see for discounts), in libraries, bookstores, etc.

  • Arthur Miller
  • August Wilson
  • Tennessee Williams
  • Eugene O’Neill
  • Nilo Cruz
  • Marsha Norman
  • Neil LaBute
  • Adam Rapp
  • Theresa Rebeck
  • John Patrick Shanley
  • Harold Pinter
  • Sam Shepard
  • Stephen Adly Guirgis
  • Annie Baker
  • Edward Albee
  • Jose Rivera
  • Sarah Ruhl
  • Amy Herzog
  • Suzan-Lori Parks
  • David Mamet
  • Lanford Wilson
  • Wendy Wasserstein
  • Neil Simon
  • Donald Margulies
  • Tracy Letts
  • William Inge
  • Lynn Nottage
  • David Auburn

What play are you going to read this week?  (No, really!  What play?)



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