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Teaching techniques in professional theatre

Speaking techniques and games

In order to convey a text, one needs knowledge and control of breathing, diction and voice in addition to expressiveness. These are essential elements in the actor's preparation and must be well known. They are also intertwined and mutually dependent. In the delivery of a text, breath control is minor if the diction is correct.

When training an actor, abdominal breathing is most often used: The chest enlarges without the shoulders lifting. The abdominal muscles tense and the belly bulges. The diaphragm muscle is strongly strained. As a breathing technique, it is useful to imitate animals or environmental sounds (dog breathing, horse snorting, bees buzzing, etc.). Breath control is achieved through conscious and measured breathing over time (one time = one second).

Similarly, the transmission of a text cannot take place without clear and precise pronunciation by the sender. Therefore, pronunciation exercises are essential. Pronunciation exercises are phrases and sentences that emphasise a particular consonant or vowel in order to get used to it and pronounce it as correctly as possible. These exercises are done freely or with a pencil in the mouth.

The voice exercises involve changing the tone of speech (chest/bass, middle and head/treble). The voice is essential in everyday life as well as in the lives of actors, so it must be protected with great care. Speaking "on the ropes" is dangerous and can lead to voice loss in the short term. Therefore, the coordinator/teacher must pay attention to the correct execution during the warm-up exercises for the voice.

Raise awareness of the body schema (warm-up).

One of the essential and important tools in conveying a text message is the body. Emotions and feelings are expressed not only through facial expressions but also through the whole body. Therefore, it is important to know your own body. Physical warm-ups and exercises aimed at knowing the body start with wide, simple and slow movements. They are usually performed by tracing imaginary geometric elements in space (circles, lines, parabolas). These exercises help the performers to get to know the limits of their own body, but also those of their surroundings.

Spontaneity (Improvisation)

Improvisation is the ability to create, play, dance or speak in spontaneous response to what is happening around you or to your own thoughts and feelings. Theatre improvisation is about spontaneously adapting to real or imaginary situations, to space or situation suggestions or relationships of the partner or play leader. Improvisation techniques are used in film and television both for the development of characters and scenarios and as part of the final product. The basic principle of improvisational theatre is simple: improvisation involves acting without a script. These games and exercises help to improve presence of mind and relax in tense situations.

Training attention, memory and imagination

Attention, imagination and memory are closely linked in theatre. In any play or theatre exercise that targets memory or imagination, attention is explicitly required. These exercises are important in that the person practising them develops his creative side and his cognitive elements at the same time. The games are generally based on instructions given at the beginning, followed by a test game. They are often group games that require the attention of the game partners. This category of exercises helps practitioners in everyday life to improve their quality of life and develops the spirit of observation of the people and things around us.

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