BY CHERYL L. SERRA
“What is acting?” asks teacher Melissa Baughman.
“Pretending to be somebody you’re not,” replies the eager-to-please young boy sitting cross-legged on the floor in a circle with other aspiring actors.
“For example, if there’s a Joseph in the class and we’re doing a play on three goats, he can’t just be Joseph.”
That’s right, Ms. Baughman says, you need to use your imagination when acting.
For the next hour, students will use their imagination to experience their five senses during exercises such as smelling perfume, looking at a rainbow, and touching a hot stove. They discuss character development, too, describing personality and physical traits of the characters in Little Red Riding Hood. They mimic how the characters might walk, for instance, hunching over when it’s time to imitate the grandmother.
Through it all, Baughman expertly guides their youthful exuberance to the task at hand, telling them that focusing their mind is also a critical skill in acting.
Tonight, in early September, is the first night of acting class this season for the young actors. What’s happening in this classroom is but one facet of the creativity, electricity, originality and energy that courses through the Maryland Ensemble Theatre (MET) in Frederick, MD.
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