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Listening in Drama

We all have five Senses.

Hearing, Vision, Taste, Touch and Smell.

All five are essential to solid acting.

Why is Listening important?

When we imagine a picture of an actor, we often have an image of a woman or man on stage portraying a character and speaking words that have been written for them.

We might think of an actor alone on stage reciting a monologue (text that is spoken aloud to the audience by one actor). However, most scenes in theater have at least 2 actors in a dramatic scene portraying characters. Generally, one character will speak while the other character listens. It is very important that the actor portraying the character who is listening is indeed actively listening herself/himself. If the actor is not listening, then how will they know how to feel as the character that they are portraying?

It is also important to listen in order to not only act, but react.


How does your character interpret the message of the other character and then respond as their character? Technically, how will they know their cue and when to speak their next line?

Being a good listener onstage is just as important as being able to be clear and projecting your voice to be heard onstage.

Listening and Observation

Acting and Drama requires observation of the outside world.

The memory of these observations allow us to then use what we’ve observed to create a new world on stage. To make it believable.

Actors do this with their imagination and from memory.

Here is an exercise that you can do at home by yourself to practice listening observation and use for future acting scenes.

Exercise in Listening

Lie on the floor of a room keeping very still and relaxed.

Be aware of your breath, but focus on what you can hear in the room. Listen carefully to everything you can hear in the room, outside and beyond.

Maybe it is your own breathing?

A car passing close by? Birds outside? Perhaps a neighbour turning on the water in the apartment above you?

In your mind, go far outside of your body to go to the place of the sound you think is the farthest distance from you in the room. Use your imagination to go there and explore what is in that space. What surrounds you? How does it feel? Have you located the source of the sound? Is anyone else there? Do you speak to them?

When you are satisfied with the scene you have imagined, come back to your room slowly and open your eyes.

Story on Listening

Here in the video is a story in German that Miriam wrote in her teens and which also relates to listening and sounds. It can serve as an example of how sounds contribute to atmospheres and emotional states.


We hope that you enjoy this content and you will provide feedback to us on how you find the content and is it beneficial.

We are experimenting with different ways of providing bilingual content. In this post for example, we combine an English written text with a video recorded German story. Does this work for you? Or would you prefer it differently and how?

We look forward to hearing back from you.

Wir experimentieren mit verschiedenen Formen von Zweisprachigkeit auf unserem Blog. Hier kombinieren wir einen englischen geschriebenen Text mit einer Videoaufnahme einer deutschen Geschichte. Lasst uns doch wissen, ob dies für euch so funktioniert oder ob wir unsere Inhalte jeweils sowohl auf Deutsch als auch auf Englisch verfassen sollen.

Wir freuen uns auf Eure Rückmeldungen!

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