It can be really boring for new Actors to read long plays. But once you get to know about the benefits play reading, you will discover that reading is the basics of Acting.
Because whatever is performed on screen or stage was first presented in a written form of Play, Novel, Stories, Script, etc.
And if you simply understand the importance of play reading in your Acting career, I guarantee you that play reading will become an important part of your daily life.
So, let us see the following benefits of play reading in Acting:
1. Play Reading Benefits in Understanding story structure
Do you wonder how some good Actors always get casted in good films? Because they have developed a good understanding of Stories.
And they can clearly differentiate between a Good script & Bad script or Good stories & Bad stories.
Infact, reading different types of plays helps you understand different story structures and genres.
Because what is good on script may not be same good on screen. And to understand this you have to go through a lot of play reading.
And once you have read a huge number of plays then you will know how a story structure works and what is a good and suitable script for you.
2. Play Reading Benefits You in Characterization
Every character has its own rhythm and as you go through the script you will find a certain pattern in every character.
And this helps in characterization.
So, once you start reading plays and get exposed to a lot of different characters then you will develop a good understanding of characterization.
Moreover, no one can really teach you the method of characterization. As everyone can just share their experiences. And through play reading you will develop your own method of characterization.
So, it is very important for an Actor to read Plays, Novels, Stories, etc.
3. Play Reading Benefits your Vocabulary
Every character has its own vocabulary. And sometimes it can be really difficult to fit yourself into a character who has unfamiliar vocabulary to yours.
For example many Actors perform good in contemporary script but struggle to perform good in mythological or periodic drama. And this is just because they lack the sense of vocabulary.
Although you do not need to memorize every other vocabulary. All you need to do is, just be conscious and fully involved while reading plays and gradually you will have a good collection of vocabulary.
And also you will develop the sense that what vocabulary suits which character.
4. Play Reading Enhances your Imagination
Imagination brings clarity to your mind. And if you as an Actor has the ability to imagine things and situations then it will be much easier to express your thoughts & emotion while performing a scene.
And play reading helps you imagine and understand about different scenarios and situations. Moreover it also gives you a sense of performance.
In fact, it is often said that an Actor who has a better imagination will always act better.
5. Play Reading Improves your Visualization
Visualization is different from imagination. As, imagination occurs in your mind and you observe things in your head. But visualization is one step ahead of imagination and sometimes very difficult.
Because visualization happens when you can actually see the action happening in front of you with your open eyes.
And play reading promotes your sense of visualization in many ways. For example if the text in play says about a ‘flowing river’ then your mind actually starts making a picture of it and you are able to see that ‘flowing river’ in front of you.
And acting is all about visualizing things and then reacting to it in such a way that it is for real.
6. Play Reading helps you Find Monologue
If you are struggling to find some good monologues for yourself to practice or perform, then play reading can really help you with this.
As casting directors really get bored watching the same monologues done by everyone in audition. So, if you got something new, you may crack the audition.
See, every play has some good collection of monologues and once you start reading & get familiar you will know which suits you best.
Then, pick a few non-popular monologues and memorize it for your next audition.
7. Play Reading Benefits you Understand Punctuation in Acting
Acting has its own grammar and having the knowledge of it is very essential for an Actor.
And only through play reading you will understand better about how to put emphasis on certain words, When to take pause, When to be loud & When to be subtle.
And this sense of understanding about the punctuation in Acting will only come when you regularly read different kinds of plays.
Now that you understand the importance of play reading in an Actor’s life, it is better to start reading it from now.
In fact, you can start with short plays of upto 80-90 pages and then gradually explore more.
Finally I want to sum it up by saying that you can not perform without reading scripts and to develop the sense & understanding of script you must start reading plays.