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by Muzora

Movement For Actors On Stage

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It is very important to have proper movement technique when acting for the stage. Check out these tips on improving your stage movement:

Two actors in a love scene
Two actors in a love scene

  • The Character

Physically embody your character based on who he or she is as a person. How old is the character? What does he/she do for a living? Are they confident or insecure? Remember that you are not playing yourself when you are acting. You are playing an individual completely different from you. Gather all the information you know about the character and figure out how he/she would use their body. Include subtle idiosyncrasies that could be true to the character. Marlon Brando’s performance in A Streetcar Named Desire is a perfect example of this. Every time his character (Stanley) picked up an object he grabbed it aggressively and brutish, which was very authentic to his character’s nature. 


  • Intention

You want to show your character’s intention in every movement you make on stage. What does your character want? What kind of emotion is he or she feeling that moment? Let the circumstances and your character’s intentions influence your movement. This will help you to physicalize the circumstances of the scene and show how you feel towards the other people on stage.


  • Strong/Weak Moves

There are certain moves that an actor makes on stage that will convey power or weakness. A powerful move for a character is to walk towards his or her scene partner during a moment in the scene. It reveals a strong intention and it can change who has “the power” in the scene. If your character backs away from another character during the scene show it shows weakness and retreat. Touching another character during the scene is also a powerful movement depending on how you touch the other person (grab, caress, shove). Strong/weak moves go hand-in-hand with your character’s intentions in the scene.


  • Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique is widely used in the performing arts as a way to master your body’s movements. It teaches you to relax the tense muscles in your body that inhibit your movement and breathing. Stage acting can be physically taxing because in requires you to play out your movements to a great amount of people. Most acting programs teach a course in the Alexander Technique. You can also find a specialized Alexander Technique instructor in your area. A good resource for this is alexandertechnique.com. For a book source, check out The Alexander Technique: The Essential Writings Of F. Matthias Alexander.