top of page
  • Writer's picturetovahstutoringcomp

4 tips on how to improve your body movement to act more effectively



Starting to act takes a lot of trust, experimentation, and vulnerability


Starting to act takes a lot of trust, experimentation, and vulnerability because you need to trust in yourself and others in order to take risks.


If you are reading this blog and you have already started this process or are on your way to starting, you need to commend yourself for starting to take risks.

Guess what! You have more to come! You'll always be taking risks, if you are acting. It is just a natural part of the process.


Something else to add, before we get started, is that you should always be proud of yourself for wanting to learn and explore something that matters to you. It is one aspect of what life is all about!



Now let's jump in!


This blog will discuss the following areas:


Comfort zones, Chicken Wings, Levels and Over Exaggeration


"Chicken Wings, you say?" Well, you'll know all about that soon and it has nothing to do with KFC... unfortunately.


By the end of this blog, you should become aware of a few ways to extend yourself as an actor to improve your body movement when acting.



If you are uptight and nervous, the audience will experience this too. You are on a journey of storytelling together.


Comfort zones


If you think about yourself in everyday life, think about how you stand and communicate with people. Also think about whether or not that changes when you are not familiar with something in the room or you cannot speak a language that someone is saying to you. The posture you experience during these two scenarios are likely the posture you will do at the beginning of your acting journey. This is the posture of vulnerability. What is happening is that your mind is processing what areas in the situation is fine and what should be tread with caution. Your mind then communicates this through your stance. This also aligns with your personal bubble. As an actor, we need to be able to work outside of our comfort zones and our personal bubbles. This is for a matter of reasons such as showing connections and relationships, increasing tension, and to add energy and action to a situation. The latter links nicely with comedy.



This body posture sits comfortably in my personal bubble. As an introvert I feel most comfortable within an enclosed posture. Notice that my legs are close together. So is my elbows to my waist.



Observe your own body posture. Where do you situate your elbows, hips, legs and shoulders? This is your comfort zone.





Chicken Wings ©


When I was teaching Commedia Del 'Arte, Shakespeare and Melodrama, I had to think about teaching over exaggeration. So many of my students were self-conscious about showing their arm pits. Naturally, they locked them into their hips as much as they could, or they kept their hands close to their body and chest area (common enclosed posture). To me, this looked like movement similar to a chicken's wings. This is why I call it "Chicken Wings" ©.


Whenever you are performing comedy, I want you to think about whether or not you are flapping around your chicken wings.



If you are, try other alternatives, like stretching your arms out, putting them above your head and any other gesture you can think of which doesn't involve bent elbows.






Levels


Once you feel comfortable changing your hand gestures and arm extensions, try a variety of different levels. You can arch your spine and cave your posture to appear frail or villainous. You can also crouch, lean, squat, lurch, contract, lengthen and experiment with different placements of your knees, feet and spine. Consider your balance and where your weight distribution is when experimenting with this movement as well. Breath is an important component to balance as well.




Levels also include lying down and suspension too (I don't mean levitating, but rather being lifted by others).


If you can get in the habit of changing the levels within your performance, you will provide the audience with more shapes and ideas to look at.


If you took a photo of your performance every 5 seconds, would you like to see a photo album of the same photo or perhaps different photos? The same idea applies to acting. So, get moving!

Think of it like this. If you took a photo of your performance every 5 seconds, would you like to see a photo album of the same photo or perhaps different photos? The same idea applies to acting. So, get moving!



You want to make your performance as visually interesting as you can, as well as, trying to communicate the story and how your character fits into the storyline.



Over exaggeration


One of the main things about comedy, is being able to forget how to look good, and focus more on the energy from within. If you can shoot your energy towards every corner in the room, you will find a sense a freedom and achievement. Letting go and allowing your body to reach its potential, means that the audience will relax with you.


If you are uptight and nervous, the audience will experience this too. You are on a journey of storytelling together.


So don't be afraid to open your mouth wide, lift your legs, make your voice break and let your body wibble-wobble. If you are having fun, it is likely the audience is as well.


Comedy thrives off of energy. Energy meaning the amount of effort and enthusiasm you place into your character. Whether that be wide eyes, a loud scream, open arms, that is you applying energy to your roles. You can tell the difference between an actor with effective and not so effective stage appearance, based on the appropriate amount of energy they place into portraying their roles. The more consistent you are with your energy, pace and bringing life to the table, the more likely you will attract your audience. Theatre Sports, in particular, is all about thinking on your feet and thinking fast. You adapt to the situation at hand and the audience will marvel in the chaos that you have to try and remedy. The more invested you are in over exaggerating your movements and adding energy to your performance, the more risks the audience will see. It is also more entertaining when there are characters involved with added quirks and comedic predictability.

There are exceptions though.

There are other types of comedies that can be quite dead pan and thrive off of lengthened pauses and awkward situations, however when learning comedy, it is important to start with understanding and exploring over exaggeration and what kind of impact it has within live theatre. This gets you in the rhythm of experimentation, knowing where your limitations are, and gauging what the audience likes to see.


So, to recap, make yourself aware of where your comfortzone is with your body and then take some time to open up and explore different levels, different balances, different connections with other actors, and of course, different exaggerated energies.


Adult Theatre Sports Workshops are available every Monday 7pm. Click here for more info.


Book in for online tuition for Term 1 NOW! Book here



Time, Experience, Manaakitanga.



Tovah O'Neill

Tovah's Tutoring Company Ltd.







Commenti


bottom of page