Last September 7, 8, and 9, I acted out a part in a very interesting play in our university: “Who’s Who?” There are five characters in the play. One is Bernard, a playboy. He is a married man but has a girlfriend named Suzzane. Jaqulien is Bernard’s wife, and she also has a boyfriend, Robert, who happens to be Bernard’s friend. Finally, there is also Suzzert, a chef. The play starts with Bernard inviting his girlfriend to his house, thinking that his wife Jaqulien is going to her mother’s house. Jaqulien doesn’t go to her mother’s house, though, because her boyfriend, Robert, told her he was coming. Bernard panics because if Suzzane comes to his house, Jaqulien will learn about his adulterous activities. He thus pleads with his friend Robert to pretend that Suzzane is his girlfriend. Robert doesn’t have the heart to turn down his friend’s request, but Robert commits a big mistake: he mistakes the chef Suzzert for Suzzane. The situation becomes messy and complicated, with the five characters getting caught in a web of lies.
I played the part of Robert in this play. Robert is a very cute but stupid character. He makes many mistakes in this play. He thus made the audience laugh many times during the play. I was glad to have played the part of Robert in the play because I was able to make the audience laugh and clap many times, whenever I was part of a funny scene. Before I acted out the part of Robert in the play, however, I went through many hardships. During the summer vacation, I always practiced acting. I practiced for almost five hours a day. Time was not as big a problem, though, as stimulating my own emotions was. Whenever actors act, they must stimulate their emotions, which can’t be acquired simply by studying or watching. It requires much practice and training. There are some methods, however, for stimulating one’s emotions. One is establishing eye contact. To stimulate my emotions, I establish eye contact with the other actor(s) in a particular scene, and I think of a line that’s emotionally charged. Saying to myself “I’m sad” or “I’m angry” will not do because doing so cannot by itself make me really sad or angry. The other method of stimulating one’s emotions is doing so without the help of text. This means that we cannot use any word or sentence to transport ourselves to a particular situation and to stimulate the corresponding emotion. Another difficulty that an actor faces is memorizing the script. Play scripts are usually very long and confusing. Many of them also have the difficult objective of making people laugh. For this, play scripts use word play. That is, they use many similar words and sentences and also deliberately use intricate and long words. This explains why I found it hard to memorize the script of the play “Who’s Who?” Memorizing and practicing moving lines is also hard. Plays have particular moving lines which, when broken, will make it hard for the play to effectively transfer its mood and script. Thus, the actors must thoroughly memorize their own moving lines. It takes actors months to memorize their respective lines and to become accustomed to moving onstage. As for me, after I finished my training, I finally stood onstage. During my first performance, I was so nervous that I couldn’t move and act well, but when the audience started laughing because of the funny scenes in the play and because of my acting, I developed courage and knew in my mind that I could play my role very well.
Acting onstage was a very touching and exciting experience. I also derived many personal benefits from my participation in the play. First, I came to understand my own thoughts using my emotions. I also came to understand other people’s thoughts better. Second, I gained greater confidence. Acting onstage needs much courage and practice. I had to endure many hardships and had to develop self-discipline and overcome my fear of standing in front of an audience. Thus, when I finished all the performances, I realized that I could overcome all obstacles and attain success in whatever it is that I set out to accomplish. Finally, I met many great people. In our club, “Play and Life,” I met many actors and directors who happen to be very good people. Moreover, as they have been acting onstage for a long time, they already understand people very well. They gave me lots of valuable advice to help me understand people better, and to develop great relationships with many people. I guess this can be a big help for me in the future.
(Library and Information, 11, Yonsei University)