Read. The. Script.

If you are an actor, you must read the script.

It is really that simple, friends.

If you do not read the script, it is hard for me to understand how you can call yourself an actor.

An actor’s job is to interpret what is on the page. If you do not know what is on the page, how can you possibly interpret it?

Read. The. Script.

How did we get to this Twilight Zone where we have to remind professional actors to read their scripts?

Well, one contributing factor is that, in an oversaturated market, some of you may have opted to replace your ongoing acting training with networking opportunities (i.e. pay-to-pay classes with casting directors and agents). I am not here to tell you whether or not to participate in the pay-to-play market. To each his own. Do what works best for you. What I AM here to tell you is that the permission you are getting in those classes to take the material out of context may not fly when you are putting your work in front of a director or a playwright.

The director will expect you to, well, read the script. And you can be sure that the playwright will expect you to read the script.

While working out of context in a pay-to-play might demonstrate if you can take adjustments, if you are easy to work with, or if you are directable, it does NOT demonstrate if you can analyze a script, if you can embody a character, or if you can act in a play.

To act is to interpret.

Read. The. Script.

There is no shortcut.

Read. The. Script.

Another pill that is hard to swallow but is necessary to offer up is this: this problem of not reading the script and then taking the material out of context is rampant in the world of musical theatre. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why there is a “bad acting” stigma associated with actors who work primarily in the musical theatre.

I’m just saying.

It is hard to imagine that any actor worth their salt would take “To be or not to be” out of the context of Hamlet or “I gave eighteen years of my life” out of the context of Fences or “I’m running things now!” out of the context of August: Osage County.

Read. The. Script.

I’m telling you this because I care about you… and because you know better.

Read. The. Script.