Active Listening on the Stage
We know that being a good listener in real life means focusing your attention on the person speaking. We usually nod our heads, say words like "mmhmm" and "yes" and maintain eye contact. A "bad" listener is just waiting for their turn to speak. So, to be a good listener you need to be open and patient and really listen to what the other person is saying. But what about on the stage?
When we're acting, we (hopefully) have memorized the script and so we know exactly what the other person is going to say. Or sometimes you are playing a character with not many lines of text but a lot of stage time. How do you listen as your character?
Remember to be a good listener on the stage:
React in the moment, basing your performance on what your scene partner is giving you
Imagine that you are hearing the information for the first time
Don't over-act with a clichéd response
Allow time for the information to sink in
Respond with a gesture (nodding) or body language before you speak