Integrating Acting Skills into Everyday Life
As Shakespeare infamously wrote in his 1599 play As You Like It, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players”. These wise words still echo throughout modern society, highlighting the fact that skills learnt whilst treading the boards can easily be transferred to the arena of everyday life. From work-based environments like teaching or customer service positions to more enjoyable pursuits like Dungeons & Dragons and re-enactment groups, acting skills can come in useful everywhere. Here we’ll take a look at some of the key transferable skills learnt in acting class and think about where else you may find it beneficial to use them.
Most positions in a working environment require employees to have something of a professional persona. This enables a team of employees to work together efficiently and coherently without dragging unnecessary personal drama into the workplace. It also allows those in a customer services position to connect with customers on an appropriate level, or those in management to dictate to their team without coming across as overbearing. However, not everyone is naturally gifted with creating such a persona and this is where those acting skills can come in useful.
Visualization of a role is a well-used technique employed in acting to deliver a strong performance. The skill can readily be transferred to other working environments, where visualising the ideal version of an employee can help you to achieve it. For example, the ideal shop assistant is approachable, knowledgeable and cheerful even with difficult customers or in busy situations. To succeed in this position, you can use visualization to rehearse how to portray these qualities whilst at work. This gives you an easy template to call on whilst in a work environment, making your job easier and you a more accomplished employee. It also allows you to feel how the ideal shop assistant feels, using empathy and method acting to better understand your role.
Another useful skill learnt on the stage is active listening. It may come as a surprise to some who think of acting as simply an outward performance. However, actors take their cues from their audience and active listening is one way of doing this. By directing your full attention towards your audience, they will feel heard, understood and included in the performance or activity. This can be useful when performing as it generates a positive feedback loop between audience and performer, strengthening the production as a whole and garnering more favourable reviews afterwards.
Outside of acting, this is a great technique to use in competitive situations like board games, poker games or even a murder mystery party. Coupled with learning how to read your audience, active listening can help you to build up a picture of what you’re up against. This then allows you to react appropriately and hopefully gain the upper hand.
In today’s world where many games are played online, it can be difficult to read people without the face to face physical cues. However, it can be done. With games like chess, twenty-one and Risk it’s still possible to read a player through signifiers like length of pauses between turns, reaction to other players and behaviour under pressure. You can then decide how you want to retaliate in order to achieve the best results.
Although in acting you are often taking on the personality of a fictional person, it can actually be a great help in discovering your own true identity. Performing in front of an audience means that a balanced mind and knowledge of yourself are essential for success. If you approach a role from a secure place of knowing yourself, then you will find it easier to take on different characteristics and create a believable part.
Mindfulness and meditation can be helpful practices when pursuing a balanced mind and can help to create a feeling of calm to rely on when stage fright sets in. It’s also through these methods that you can discover your own distinguishing traits. Once you have identified yourself and your own wants and needs, it will be easier to see which direction to move in so that you can fully realise the fictional character you’re playing. This knowledge once realised can be applied to almost any life situation, from giving a presentation at university to choosing which direction you next want to take in life.
In conclusion, you can clearly see that the wealth of knowledge contained within the realm of theatre is not to be underestimated. The stage, after all, is simply a microcosm of the wider world and as such offers the perfect arena in which to practice life skills. But of course, for the majority of people there is a life outside of the theatre and it is here where those abilities learnt in front of an audience can be used to improve and support a meaningful existence.
- Author : Siry
- Date : January 8, 2018
- Category : ACTOR