top of page
  • Writer's pictureLaurie Swigart

Principles for the Actor

Updated: Dec 8, 2020

Author Unknown

Do not listen to your fellow actors (it will only throw you).

Hold for all laughs -- if you don't get it, repeat line louder (face front if necessary, or laugh at it yourself).

Tension gets results.

Emotion is like an orange, you must squeeze it to get the juice.

A performance, like concrete, should be molded then set.

Your first responsibility as an actor is to find the light.

Do not look at your partner -- You may not see what you want.

Always be specific, point to what you are talking about.

If a line isn't working for you, change it.

Cultivate an attitude of hostility. (NO MORE MISTER NICE GUY)

Stage Managers are not actors -- Ignore them.

Never be afraid to ad-lib to get attention.

Mistakes are never your fault.

Always find something to complain about, no matter how small or insignificant.

Never arrive on time.

Never carry make-up; someone will always have what you need.

Help Stage Managers keep alert by not signing in.

Never help understudies (why should they steal your business?).

Help your fellow actors by giving notes whenever you feel it's necessary. (If they ignore you, report them to the Stage Manager.)

Whenever possible, give them notes immediately before they go on -- it will be fresher that way.

Speak your lines as if the audience had difficulty understanding the language.

Keep other performers on their toes by making fun of their performance.

Play the reality -- be aware of the audience.

The key advantage is surprise -- don't let actors know what you're going to do.

The difference between amateur and pro is that the pro does exactly the same thing for money.

Create your character -- find your own costume.

Never change anything that's working, no matter how wrong or phony it may seem.

When in doubt about an ad-lib, go "Whoo!"

Even if a piece of schtick doesn't work, keep using it.

7 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


by Shawn Lovely. DRAMATICS. March, 1994. You've been there. You're standing in the wings getting ready for an entrance. You're running through what's about to happen on stage, and trying to suppress y


by Miriam Lugy Wolfe. DRAMATICS. April, 1992. I craned my neck to get a look at the ANNIE GET YOUR GUN cast list. My eyes scanned the rows of names. And scanned, and scanned. Finally I found my name -

The Actor's Checklist

© 2013 Kerry Hishon Rehearsal Tools • Script (and score, if applicable) • Two pencils, eraser, pencil sharpener • Two highlighters (two different colours) • Notebook and/or paper •


bottom of page