Perform Poetry

December 23, 2012

"...And miles to go before I sleep." --Robert Frost

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” — from Shakespeare’s As You Like It

Words, rhythm, alliteration, pronunciation; these are the fundamentals by which the actor expresses him or herself. Being able to interpret language with just the right inflection, spirit, and emotion is the grist of the craft itself. Poetry! The word itself is poetic. Poetry is a frequently overlooked weapon in the actor’s arsenal. First of all, it’s just dead cool to be able to bust out with, “I have of late but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercise;” but more importantly, reciting poetry is an excellent exercise in memorizing creative writings, commanding language and burnishing dramatic performance.

You want to do something fun? You want to do something exciting? You want to do something edifying?! Of course you do–you’re an actor! Go ahead and learn a poem; it doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it speaks to you. Be it Edgar Poe or Sylvia Plath or Robert Frost or Robert Browning. Memorize the verse and rehearse until you own it. Then, when the time is right–and you’ll know when the time is right (trust me)–break it out! You’ll understand the meaning of dramatic force, you’ll be the envy of all you purvey, “You’ll be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire.” That last bit is Bukowski, by the way.

Don’t wait: brilliant passages are dying to be expressed by your unique Thespian tongue. There’s a poem out there in  the ether that’s begging to be performed. Who better to bring it to life than you? Your acting need not be contained to a theater, a commercial, a movie. Keep your acting chops nimble, venture to poetry readings and freshen up the words with passionate performance. Many communities have active poetry groups that perform readings at coffee shops, pubs, music venues, or other gathering places. Hit me back and let me know of your poetic adventures; heck, let me know of your misadventures as well!

Lemon Andersen

Click here to see how actor and poet, Lemon Anderson, exemplifies the unison  of poetry and acting. and how’s his artistic passion paved a remarkable career for himself.