Scritto da speakitalianmagically.com il 3 Febbraio 2013
Have you ever thought of being an actor (or an actress)? If so, what kind of actor or actress would you be? What kind of movies or theatrical roles would work in? What roles would you like to play? If you are already an actor or an actress, what do you feel while playing another person? How do you feel when you are another person?
At this point you may wonder how come I ask you all these questions and also what I know about the actor profession. I immediately answer that I know very little about it, apart from the yearly course I attended some time ago at the cultural association named Laboart in Tropea, where the very skillful Mariagrazia Teramo taught me the first elements of this art. Being a professional actor has never interested me, but it is my opinion that there’s a lot to learn from being able to be an actor, so I saw that as a pleasant hobby that allowed me to learn many things that I could also use in other fields of my life (also professional). Besides, it gave me the little satisfaction to play Alberto Sordi (a great Italian actor) in a little role. That show was filmed and you can watch it below;-) I am the one throwing himself on the floor after finding unpleasant news:-) (from the minute 7’59 to 12’28)
Now, do you think that being able to be an actor can be useful to learn a foreign langugage and even to speak Italian very well? What do you think about it?
One of the very first things that you need to learn in an acting course (apart from a multitude of many other things that I wouldn’t be able to write here, but you can ask Mariagrazia about) is that you need to experience what you act upon. That means that it’s not enough to repeat lines by heart, but it’s important that they are real for the actor as well as for the audience. And to do it, you need to use all your senses. How? Follow me for a while, answer the following questions and you’ll find it out.
Imagine you have a beautiful arancia (orange) of a vivid color in front of you.
What is its shape like? Is it spheric or a little bit squashed?
By touching it, what is its consistency like? Is it smooth or rough?
Peel it. Is there any noise when you peel it?
What fragrance does it have? Do you like it?
Taste it. What taste does it have? Do you like it? Is it acidolous or sweet?
Can you say “arancia” aloud?
If you read the sensory questions I have just asked you and you answered as if you really had a real orange in front of you, then is it probable that your salivation has increased… Or not? If your answer is no, try again by slowly rereading the above questions and give youself time to have the orange in front of your eyes, your nose, your ears, in your hands and in your mouth.
What we’ve just done is a basic visualization technique with all the 5 senses, called synesthesia, reinforced by saying aloud the word (ARANCIA!).
Stella Adler, a famous acting teacher (she also had Marlon Brando as her pupil) said that:“Ninety-nine percent of what you see and use on the stage comes from imagination. […] Every situation you find yourself in will be an imaginary one. […] You must see something in your head vividly and accurately before you can describe it. Only then you can give it back and make your partner or the audience experience what you have seen”. If her book (The art of acting) would be translated into Italian, you would find something like that written in it: “Il 99% di quello che vedi e usi sul palcoscenico viene dall’immaginazione. […] Ogni situazione in cui ti trovi sarà immaginaria. […] Devi vedere qualcosa nella tua testa vividamente e accuratamente prima che tu possa descriverla. Solo allora puoi restituirla e far provare al tuo partner o al pubblico quello che hai visto”.
How can what you’ve so far read can be useful in your path to speak Italian very well?
In several ways.
The first is that to fix in your mind some italian words, you could use more of your senses and avoid what many people do, that is to repeat without any sensory and emotional involvment long lists of vocabulary. Jus like some do, while repeating something like that:
house, casa, house, casa, house, casa, house, casa, house, casa, house, casa, house, casa, house, casa, house, casa, house, casa, house, casa, house, casa, house, casa, house, casa, house, casa, house, casa, etc.
Why don’t you see in front of your eys a beautiful house, perhaps your dream house (What colors are there?), hear the noises and listen to the sounds of this house (is there any radio playing? Is there any child screaming?), put your hands on it (are the walls rough?), smell the perfume of it (what do they cook in this house?), or even taste it (is it made of marzipan, like the one of Hänsel and Gretel?) and then pronounce aloud the word CASA!
I do think that would be more fun, as well as effective…What do you think about it?
The second way is that you could change your attitude towards the Italian language and perhaps you could begin to play the role of a native Italian speaker. Why not? I know that this can have advantages as well as disadvantages, but I’ll talk about it in another post. For now, I ask you: do you remember that in the fourth lesson of Awaken your Italian you can enter into an Italian mothertongue speaker as well as taking him or her as your model for the Italian language? And how? If you already know Italian, you can listen to it for free in the episode no. 9 of the podcast
where I read with my Italian voice the texts that you can find in the book. Buon divertimento!