IT'S ALL ABOUT VOCABULARY
Report workshop English for training actors 19-04-2021
Trainer: Amanda Wolzak
Hostess NVVT: Anita Stokman
Report: Joël Mooij
Last Monday evening I followed the workshop on English for training actors online together with nine other NVVT members. Under the inspiring guidance of trainer Amanda Wolzak, we moved out of our comfort zones and spoke English right from the start. Professionally Amanda is an actress, director and trainer. Although she has Dutch roots, she grew up and was educated in English-speaking countries. Fluent in both Dutch and English, so the perfect person for this job.
We started the evening with an extensive introductory round and that was already an exercise in English. Everyone has experienced to a greater or lesser extent what it feels like to be ‘consciously incompetent’ again. We all wanted to make the perfect sentences with the right words and pronunciation. Of course, that's not easy if you don't speak English on a daily basis. One of the insights was the necessity of expanding ones vocabulary. One workshop of course isn’t sufficient:
it requires a daily effort. Participant and native speaker Leanne McCabe advised us to dedicate ten minutes a day listening to podcasts in English and actively look up words yourself.
During the introductory round Amanda richly provided us with specific words, so we were all taking notes diligently. It was wonderful to see how passionate Amanda spoke and it motivated everyone to want to learn even more.
Amanda continued the workshop by giving us different scenes to play and improvise after a short break. Those were pretty challenging scenes in terms of content. To have to play these scenes in English felt exciting. Everyone really enjoyed playing the scenes, after all, we're actors for a reason.
What we learned from the different scenes was that by bringing emotion into the scene, the words come to you more easily. We saw that participants started to speak more fluently and they came up with creative choices of words. Amanda also encouraged to use metaphors when describing situations and feelings.
Several participants were interested in holding a series of these types of workshops to have more opportunity to practice in English while playfully expanding their vocabulary. Because finally: the acting is in our DNA but when it comes to training acting in English: it’s all about vocabulary.