DeBlogs > Tyler Esselman > show-and-tell-on-the-next-level

Show and Tell on the next Level

​In the third year of the BFA Acting program, the focus is on classical text. As such, our first two quarters were focused on Shakespeare and I loved that. I really came to love the Bard’s work on a much deeper level through the fall and winter. This quarter, however, we have shifted gears and will be exploring the work of noted South African playwright Athol Fugard during the second half of the quarter. For the first half, my class is actually doing something that we haven’t done too much of as part of our curriculum in the program but has always been meaningful when we do: writing and sharing our own text. 

It’s a special kind of sharing to share something that you have written yourself. There’s a very particular kind of vulnerability in that but it has been very enlightening so far this quarter. We have written open scenes that explore relationships that intrigue us and play with the physical sounds of language, a monologue adapted from an established piece to fit our own experience, and a letter from a person of our choice to another to explore how that particular person might employ language. It all comes down to the appreciation of language in all its forms and how it encapsulates our humanity. To me, that is the baseline passion that an actor must have because really relishing and rolling around in the spoken word is what brings a performance to life from the very beginning and will lead to a true physical embodiment of a role. 

Writing our own work is also useful in a practical sense as theatre artists. Going into such a competitive field, the only way one can guarantee his or herself work is to make it on their own. If an artist has the ability to audition for other work while also composing and developing personal work, then he or she will never be unemployed. If you’re going to be an artist, you can’t wait for anyone to give you permission. You have to go out there and just start creating. That’s an important lesson that can serve many young artists trying to find their sea legs. 

 Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week: 

This weekend, I saw The Theatre School’s production of a play called Gruesome Playground Injuries by Rajiv Joseph. Besides being a very well-done production featuring two of my friends, the sound design by first year BFA Sound Design major Connor Wang was fantastic. The incorporation of this little ditty particularly hit me. Enjoy.