What is required of actors that could produce remarkable results in the classroom?
How? Through "instrument training," a journey through the mind,
as it connects to the body.
In an audition or a scene, an actor is presented with a blueprint of an imaginary world, though the blueprint is not immediately discernible. It comes in the form of words, not sketches, written on a page or typed on to a computer screen. The actor must first comprehend the words, then absorb and retain them, and finally use them to construct a character and a whole world. Be it a world on stage or film, it is initially created in real, three-dimensional time and space. Isn't that what is required of successful students? They must comprehend, absorb, retain and use the knowledge presented in the real world?
Good actors are great learners. Quick studies of range and depth. Nothing and no one is outside of their purview. Isn't that the ideal of a student?
What exactly is "instrument" training? How can it be adapted for the classroom? How can each student's natural brain plasticity allow it to be re-wired, so that it learns almost without effort?
Seven, simple exercises, easily translated for any classroom K-12, comprise an actor's first lessons:
The Seven Exercises of the Acting Interface
Why not simply rely on the many computer programs that claim to enhance brain learning? The answer is that, as the initial NIH-funded studies indicate, the games do not translate into real life learning ability. They also are too sedentary and command an unrelenting direct focus into the computer screen. Such a focus is unnatural and unhealthy. Actor training engages all the muscles of the body, creates human conditions, and does so in the ebb and flow of real time and space.
The Cost: NEGLIGIBLE