Our son, an actor who plans on majoring in drama at university, sent me this article on How Do Actors memorize their Lines? Anyone interested in how our brains and bodies function together should read this article. Michael Boyd and Oliver Sacks discuss some very interesting case studies about memory:
[Oliver Sacks] What strikes me is the thousands and thousands of lines on the one hand, and roles on the other. These lines would have no coherence, would make no sense, would not hold together without a role, and especially a role in relation to other roles. The ability to enter a role can again outlast the hippocampi. It can outlast all sorts of mental abilities.
The type of mental/physical coordination and development that acting enables makes me think that performance arts should have a more prominent role in our education system. We are missing opportunities for integration of drama and the opportunity for students to get a better understanding of themselves. Why is theatre an elective while English writing is compulsory? Can’t you learn English through acting?
Another form of acting is improvisation, where each actor must listen to the others and play off their actions. What a great way to teach listening and empathy! Improv is also a life skill and an good business skill as Brand Autopsy writes in Learning through Improv. Here are some lessons from improv:
- Failure is an Option
- Practice Passionate Followership
- Don’t Act, React
- Go with your Gut
- Don’t be a Blockhead
- Trust Others
- Make Others Look Good