Can you tell what these actors and actresses have in common? Alan Bates, Angela Bassett, Anthony Hopkins, Cate Blanchett, Emma Thompson and William Shatner.

No, they didn’t all have a role on the big screen. Nor did they all receive an award at the Oscars. Instead, they belong to a unique group known as classical actors.

What is classical acting?

Classical acting is an acting style that focuses on control and precision. Also referred to as the Shakespearean style, it is action-oriented. It requires actors to use their body to effectively portray their role.

Classical acting was first introduced in the 18th century by Russian classical actor and director Konstantin Stanislavski. He believed that an actor can only connect with the audience when he or she identifies with the character. He purported that a classical actor must carefully study the script and understand the character to find the ‘truth’.

Another proponent of classical acting is Michel Saint-Denis, a French actor and theater director. Saint-Denis included improvisation and sense memory in his interpretation of classical acting. His objective was to strike a balance between internal and external acting techniques.

What does a classical actor do?

Classical actors bring life to their character using a well-crafted script and their interpretation. They are very versatile, having the ability to perform in any space (screen, stage, etc). They apply precision when studying their lines and rarely deviate from the script. Classical actors apply various techniques in their portrayal:

  • They use whole body movement and gestures to express themselves.
  • They adjust the quality and tone of their voice to project sound and express emotions.
  • They identify with the character by drawing on similar personal experiences.
  • They use their imagination.

To become a classical actor, you must have strong movement and vocal skills. At The Playground, we can help you develop these skills through our programs. Give us a call to learn more.