Part Five: Telling a Story


Part Five: Telling a Story

Five Approaches to Acting Series

by David Kaplan

This final installment of the Approaches to Acting Series offers practical techniques for analyzing texts and suggests strategies for performing stories within the context of a play.

Available as: eBook | Paperback Textbook
 

The power to place an image in other people’s minds, and to make that image vivid enough to arouse listeners to emotions of their own, is rightly called casting a spell — spell being related to the German word spiel, for “story.” Radio plays, bedtime stories, ghost stories, erotic stories — any of these are familiar examples of how a storyteller can make a listener turn the mind into an amphitheater, a boudoir, or any place the action described is occurring. Casting a spell is much more wonderful than deep-felt reminiscence; the whole value of a story, on the stage and in life, is that a story transcends the personal and becomes a form of shared vision, wider than an individual’s. This magic is repeated onstage whenever a story is told.

Telling a Story, Part Five in the Five Approaches to Acting Series is a chance to learn true witchcraft: the casting of a spell on audience members so that they see what isn’t there. More, the telling of a tale can reveal the occult: what takes place in the mind of the speaker. Shakespeare’s soliloquies offer an actor special opportunities to reveal the processes of thought, and there is a separate chapter in Telling a Story, Part Five in the Five Approaches to Acting Series about ways to prepare and perform soliloquies from Shakespeare’s plays. Like Mae West’s sultry recitation of nursery rhymes, Romeo’s bashful recitation of Juliet’s charms works from the principle that it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it — and what happens to you while you say it. Actors burdened with “emotional memory” in story-telling are given access to a more useful technique by identifying point of views and creating dramatic onstage action while telling a story by shifting points of view.

Telling a Story, Part Five in the Five Approaches to Acting Series offers practical techniques for analyzing texts and performing stories within the context of a play, whether written by Sam Shepard, Tennessee Williams, the ancient Greeks, or Shakespeare. Telling a Story suggests strategies for actors to switch between performance and story-telling in their approach to any role.

paperback $14.95
ISBN 978-1-60182-185-0

Other Books in The Five Approaches to Acting Series

 


Author’s Corner

 

Click here for information on using David’s teaching career.
Click here for information on David’s career as a director.

Listen and watch as Kaplan discusses his books, Tennessee Williams in Provincetown and The Five Approaches to Acting Series, respectively.

Click here to see the playlist for Tennessee Williams in Provincetown

Click here for the YouTube playlist of The Five Approaches to Acting Series