It is essential for performers to warm-up at the start of the session, to get their bodies and minds ready for the work to come. The importance of warming up together through working on the body individually and playing games, cannot be emphasised enough. Its benefits go way beyond “getting ready”. Here are just some of the reasons why warming up together is essential – some of them apply especially to physical and mask work, but most of them are relevant to all actor training.
- Connecting the body and mind.
- Developing physical and emotional awareness.
- Training spontaneity and “being in the moment”.
- Training taking risks.
- Training making mistakes together.
- Practising communicating in ways that don’t include words – a look, a smile, a gasp, a laugh.
- Isolation of body parts.
- Warming up of joints.
- Spatial awareness.
- Practising humility, collaboration and commitment.
The list goes on…. For those students that don’t like playing games because they want to get on with “proper acting” this list can provide a good reminder of how the exercises will help them to be better performers.
Don’t feel like you need to vary your warm ups or play different games each time you begin a session. Practice makes perfect and some of these games become really interesting once everyone is skilled at playing them. This is also a very good way to train the craft of acting: an actor does not change character or script at every rehearsal; the skeleton of the work is the same and it is a skill to be able to explore different things within a tight framework. And once the professional actor is in performance mode, they need to find the freshness of the first performance every single time, through their trained spontaneity.