By Gao Yang
Currently, I am taking a beginning course in theater to fulfill my undergrad requirements. Coincidentally, most of my classmates are doing just the same. I often notice how detached my colleagues are during certain discussions on the techniques and styles of acting. It makes me wonder if they realize the practicality of acting and how relevant it is in everyday life.
I can clearly recall the strong introduction I made while taking my first acting class in high school. All of the students were directed to state their name and the reason why they chose to take acting. Displaying my bold personality, I revealed that I was looking for an easy class to cover an English credit, and I thought acting would help me to become a better liar. The class replied in applauding laughter. Though my statements were very entertaining, my words were based on the reality that I was actually having a hard time transitioning into young adulthood. I viewed acting as the perfect opportunity to learn how to control and depict emotion.
Years after graduating from high school, I dove into the insurance industry as a captive agent. The company that I worked for sent new-hires off in boatloads to their version of sales school. I drove myself to Illinois for a two-week stay at a luxurious hotel. There, I spent my time memorizing a binder of scripted sales pitches and encoding the journals of the company founder. When other employees realized how quickly I memorized the sales scripts, they asked me what my secret was. Before I knew it, I was teaching everyone about acting cues, algorithms, and body posture.
In theory, we all “act” every day. We mimic each other, depict emotion, and try to alter our attitudes. It is a simple survival technique to try to manipulate results and manage human interaction. I hope that each of my current classmates will soon have an “Aha!-moment” during one of our meeting sessions. After all, isn’t education all about discovery? Life is about discovery! So the next time you have an opportunity to take an acting class, don’t shy away.