How to be a great actor

So you know you want to act. Awesome news! Now, how to go about it? For those seriously considering getting into acting there are certain things you can do to get the most out of it for you, and for the possibility of working as an actor. Here are 10 acting tips for beginners.

1 – Take some classes

Talent and drive can come very naturally, but to harness these things it’s good to actually learn what to do, and how you can do it. Classes, both group classes and private can take you leaps and bounds in your abilities in all genres. How to find an acting class…

2 – Broaden your knowledge

Read more plays, see more film, read more books and expose yourself to more educational performance tools. Check out StageMilk.com

3 – Get some experience

If you are just starting out, amateur or fringe theatre, improvisation groups, play readings, student film, there are heaps of great things you can do to get some experience in any form.

4 – Get some headshots

This will be costly, but an investment. If you don’t have a professional headshot you are not likely to be looked at for any professional castings. Headshot tips.

5 – Be versatile

Don’t just be the guy or girl who can play the young love interest. Get your hands dirty and try something out of what you or other perceive as your ‘type’. You might find you like being the straight man, the villain or the comic relief.

6 – Learn how to learn from others

Learning by watching is a very powerful tool. When you watch others perform don’t just see it as entertainment, but an educational experience. This is even better if you are watching those artists you are working with.

7 – Take direction

No one, not directors, casting agents, or your fellow performers really like performing with someone who doesn’t take direction. This action can often say more about you than you wish.

8 – Work begets work

The more you do, the more you do, so get out there and create the chain reacting of doing.

9 – Join equity

Sometimes a catch 22 as you have to have worked professionally to be an equity member, but to work professionally you should be in equity……it can be done! And it’s beneficial for you as an artist to be part of the Actors Equity Alliance (MEAA).

10 – Find an agent

Not always easy, but a great thing when it happens. If you work on finding an agent it will increase your chance of finding work.

Do you think you have what it takes to be an amazing actor/actress? You may think that since Day 1 you were born with natural talent. This quiz will give you a general idea if that’s true.

So would you be a great actor/actress? Do you have what it takes to be the next famous rising star? Here in this quiz, you will get some idea if you would. So let’s see. Take this quiz and find out.

Remember to rate this quiz on the next page!
Rating helps us to know which quizzes are good and which are bad.

Related Quizzes:

  • Do you have what it takes to be an actor/actress? by Charlotte Funly
  • Could you be an actress by Abigail Malfoy
  • What Will You Be FAMOUS For? by xendocheionology
  • What Job Should You Have? by veryholy
  • Katrina Kaif Biography by Priya

What is GotoQuiz? A better kind of quiz site: no pop-ups, no registration requirements, just high-quality quizzes that you can create and share on your social network. Have a look around and see what we’re about.

Trending Quizzes

  • Which Sally Face Character are you?
  • Which Christian denomination do you belong to?
  • How NW2 are you?
  • Are you a baby quiz

Special Feature

A GoToQuiz original that answers the question, “when will I die?” Uses real statistical data.

Give Feedback

If you notice any glitches or visual bugs while browsing GoToQuiz, please report them! Your feedback is helpful!

So you know you want to act. Awesome news! Now, how to go about it? For those seriously considering getting into acting there are certain things you can do to get the most out of it for you, and for the possibility of working as an actor. Here are 10 acting tips for beginners.

1 – Take some classes

Talent and drive can come very naturally, but to harness these things it’s good to actually learn what to do, and how you can do it. Classes, both group classes and private can take you leaps and bounds in your abilities in all genres. How to find an acting class…

2 – Broaden your knowledge

Read more plays, see more film, read more books and expose yourself to more educational performance tools. Check out StageMilk.com

3 – Get some experience

If you are just starting out, amateur or fringe theatre, improvisation groups, play readings, student film, there are heaps of great things you can do to get some experience in any form.

4 – Get some headshots

This will be costly, but an investment. If you don’t have a professional headshot you are not likely to be looked at for any professional castings. Headshot tips.

5 – Be versatile

Don’t just be the guy or girl who can play the young love interest. Get your hands dirty and try something out of what you or other perceive as your ‘type’. You might find you like being the straight man, the villain or the comic relief.

6 – Learn how to learn from others

Learning by watching is a very powerful tool. When you watch others perform don’t just see it as entertainment, but an educational experience. This is even better if you are watching those artists you are working with.

7 – Take direction

No one, not directors, casting agents, or your fellow performers really like performing with someone who doesn’t take direction. This action can often say more about you than you wish.

8 – Work begets work

The more you do, the more you do, so get out there and create the chain reacting of doing.

9 – Join equity

Sometimes a catch 22 as you have to have worked professionally to be an equity member, but to work professionally you should be in equity……it can be done! And it’s beneficial for you as an artist to be part of the Actors Equity Alliance (MEAA).

10 – Find an agent

Not always easy, but a great thing when it happens. If you work on finding an agent it will increase your chance of finding work.

Are you wondering how to become a better actor or actress? And what do you need to do to advertise your creative talent? We give you the low-down here!

You know that your acting technique has a few weak spots.

You’re not getting callbacks, and even when you get in the room, you barely even get to finish your monologue before you hear the casting directors shout, “Next!”

You want to learn what you’re doing wrong, and how you can improve your skill set.

In this post, we’ll tell you the five most important steps you need to take to learn how to become a better actor.

Read on to understand how you can go from an extra to a starring role.

1. Try out Different Methods

The first step in learning how to become a better actor?

Start trying out as many different methods as possible. You don’t even need to follow one technique blindly. Instead, the idea is to create a toolbox of different parts of acting methods that work for you.

For example, from Method Acting, you could realize that watching a sad film before reading an emotional scene makes you more vulnerable. From the Linklater method, you could realize how developing your breathing and posture allows you to perform eight shows a week. From Stanislavsky, you can learn the importance of script and character analysis.

Look for training programs in your city, and don’t be afraid to network with other actors and directors online to find out about upcoming workshops and classes.

2. See as Many Shows as You Can

Understanding how to get better at acting also means immersing yourself in the world of theatre and other forms of performance.

You don’t need to shell out hundreds of dollars a week on theatre or movies to learn from people onstage.

Seek out local community theatre productions, rent older movies with celebrated performances, or even tap into the underground art scene. You’ll learn what kind of material you gravitate towards, as well as the kind of acting that you want to emulate.

Look for productions that offer talkbacks, so that you can learn more about the process from both the actor and the director.

3. Understand Your Talent

We know that you want to develop your acting skill set to the point that you can play any part with ease.

However, the reality is that most casting directors and even agents look for “types” throughout the casting process. To improve your craft and get more auditions and roles, you need to identify what your type is as early as you can.

Think about the way people describe you in real life. Also, consider your physicality. This doesn’t just mean the way you look, but also the way that you move. Ask your friends to describe you, and look for commonalities.

If you’re lucky enough to have a one-on-one acting coach, ask them to identify what they feel your type is.

For example, are you more of a character actor, someone who plays the part of the clown? Are you the ingenue, the young love interest? Are you the “wise friend” who always has the best advice? The troublemaker or rebel?

Then, look for opportunities to play that type. Don’t be afraid to start small.

Once you’ve proven yourself, you can take things to the next level.

4. Read More Scripts

If you want to learn how to become a better actor, you need to be able to identify what’s motivating people in a certain scene.

You need to understand what these characters want, and what (or who) is standing in the way of them getting it. The best way to start learning how to properly analyze the obstacles and expectations of scenes is by reading as many scripts as you can get your hands on.

You should also watch films or even one-act plays, and attempt to identify the needs and tactics of the characters.

This also means taking the time to observe real people and conversations. In other words, become a professional people watcher.

Understand how people’s body language changes when they talk to others. Look for imbalances of power, and how that impacts things, too.

5. It’s All About Who You Know

We hope the previous pieces of advice have helped you to better understand what makes a good actor.

However, there’s one aspect of reality that even the most amazing actor can’t ignore: in this business especially, it’s all about who you know.

Consider becoming a member of Actor’s Equity or SAG, so that you can make the right connections with other people in the business. Look for actor meet-ups and clubs, so that you can rub elbows with all the right people.

Take an active approach to networking.

Connect with producers and entrepreneurs who have experience in helping actors build up their online presence. Meet with people who work in film marketing and branding, and pick their brains for ideas and opportunities.

How to Become a Better Actor: Wrapping Up

Learning how to become a better actor isn’t something that happens overnight.

It takes a true dedication to your craft, the ability to handle even harsh rejection, and a tireless refusal to give up. It also takes the right contacts.

We can certainly help you with that.

Check out the Celebrity CEO series to learn more about pitching your ideas and developing your skill set. Understand what works, what doesn’t, and how to get out in front of common industry roadblocks.

Now is the time to take the first step in getting your entertainment career where you want it to go.

Holding the mirror up to nature … Charlotte Lucas and Adrian Lester in Red Velvet. Photograph: Tristram Kenton for the Guardian

Holding the mirror up to nature … Charlotte Lucas and Adrian Lester in Red Velvet. Photograph: Tristram Kenton for the Guardian

A s an actor, having to portray a real-life person of extreme talent is fine as long as you’re not playing the part on stage and forced to demonstrate that talent to a live audience. If you’re in a play portraying an incredible dancer? All well and good, just … don’t dance. If someone casts you in the role of one of the best opera singers the world has ever known? Brilliant, just hope that all of the scenes show the person between jobs, hanging out with their family.

I had no such luck with the play Red Velvet, about the African American actor Ira Aldridge. The initial run of the production in 2012 gave me a couple of sleepless nights along with my first grey hairs. Let me explain …

Ira Frederick Aldridge was born in New York in 1807, the year the slave trade was outlawed in Britain. Unable to follow his passion to become a classical actor in America, where slavery and extreme racial prejudice were still rife, Ira came to Britain in 1824 and began performing in theatres up and down the UK. In 1833, he was invited to take over from Edmund Kean as Othello at the Theatre Royal in London’s Covent Garden – to some startling reviews. In 1852, he began touring Europe, where he won a host of awards and honours including the Prussian gold medal for his services to the arts and a knighthood.

‘Fervent soul’ … Victorian actor Ira Aldridge. Photograph: Manchester City Galleries

Later in his career, before his death in 1867, chevalier Ira Aldridge, knight of Saxony, had a repertoire of 40 plays and would perform two or three of them in one evening. He played leading Shakespearean roles to packed houses in countless European cities. International reviews described Ira as having a “fervent soul and restless imagination”. He was “startling”, “fierce”, “like a tiger”, “extraordinary”, “outstanding”. All of which is just fantastic, except for the nail-biting fact that I had to play him.

In one of the scenes from Red Velvet, Aldridge and the British actor Ellen Tree (Charlotte Lucas) perform a scene from Othello in the Georgian acting style of the period. After talking to Sophie Duncan, an expert on 19th-century theatre, we realised this meant that Charlotte and I would have to perform with antiquated gestures, vocal techniques and stances, but also deliver it to a modern audience while trying to keep hold of the essential dramatic power of Shakespeare’s words. I’ll just get my coat …

If someone were asked to do an impression of really bad stage acting they would probably do one of these things: make a face, adopt a stupid stance with their arms held in some sort of melodramatic gesture, or talk in a loud operatic voice. It’s strange to think, then, that these were some of the very techniques used to distinguish a good 19th-century actor from the rest of the pack. Performing at this level and making it work for a modern audience’s sensibilities was going to be very tricky. I had to understand why it was necessary.

As Sophie Duncan explains: “Going to the theatre in London in 1833 would have been a very crowded and chaotic affair. Tens of thousands of people went to the theatre every night. The actors had to make themselves heard and understood without amplification and with low, unspecific lighting, as limelight and gas lighting for the stage were not widely used at that time. There was a great deal of focus on acting style and scale: John Philip Kemble and Sarah Siddons were incredibly grand and powerful performers; Kean was such an exciting, dark actor that Coleridge said seeing him act was like reading Shakespeare by ‘flashes of lightning’. There was no minimalism, no reticence, and no fear of strong emotion. Audiences didn’t expect to see naturalistic acting onstage. The grandeur, intensity and extremity of the performances these actors gave (had to give, in order to hold the attention of thousands of people) must have made them seem almost supernatural. I think audiences were also willing to give of themselves emotionally, and not to hold back – people fainted and had hysterics.”

Oh great. The acting was so good that people fainted. Just great.

I stand opposite Charlotte in the Tricycle theatre rehearsal room, which now feels as big as a football pitch. We are about to start rehearsing the handkerchief scene from Othello, which is central to the story of Red Velvet, quietly wondering if we’ll reduce the Tricycle audience to hysterics for all the wrong reasons. We begin with Othello’s moment of seeing Desdemona before she enters. I’m on stage, slightly hunched, standing with my feet a bit wider apart than normal. A little like a fencing stance. I can feel the shift in my centre of gravity. It’s much lower now and that gives me an ability to better control my movement around the stage. So far so good, but what the hell do I do with my hands?

In Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark puts on a play for his uncle, the king. Before the actors take their positions, Hamlet gives them a piece of acting advice:

Do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say, the whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness … let your own discretion be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the word to the action … For… the purpose of playing … is, to hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to nature.

In our modern-day theories of acting, we believe that what is great in performance is to be real. To behave as if we are really in the character’s situation, speaking with everyday thought patterns and voice, directly to the other characters present. In that way, we feel, we properly reflect reality. For the 19th-century actor that type of reality wouldn’t be seen or heard on their stages. It would be mundane and unskilled. For them, acting had to be heightened and full of beautiful, graceful, passionate movement connected to a voice that could be heard by 2,000 people in one room. For the Georgian actor and the Victorian actor, reality on stage was married to highly practiced technique. At their best, an actor in 1833 had to have the physical presence and strength of a dancer matched with the vocal power of an opera singer.

Are you wondering how to become a better actor or actress? And what do you need to do to advertise your creative talent? We give you the low-down here!

You know that your acting technique has a few weak spots.

You’re not getting callbacks, and even when you get in the room, you barely even get to finish your monologue before you hear the casting directors shout, “Next!”

You want to learn what you’re doing wrong, and how you can improve your skill set.

In this post, we’ll tell you the five most important steps you need to take to learn how to become a better actor.

Read on to understand how you can go from an extra to a starring role.

1. Try out Different Methods

The first step in learning how to become a better actor?

Start trying out as many different methods as possible. You don’t even need to follow one technique blindly. Instead, the idea is to create a toolbox of different parts of acting methods that work for you.

For example, from Method Acting, you could realize that watching a sad film before reading an emotional scene makes you more vulnerable. From the Linklater method, you could realize how developing your breathing and posture allows you to perform eight shows a week. From Stanislavsky, you can learn the importance of script and character analysis.

Look for training programs in your city, and don’t be afraid to network with other actors and directors online to find out about upcoming workshops and classes.

2. See as Many Shows as You Can

Understanding how to get better at acting also means immersing yourself in the world of theatre and other forms of performance.

You don’t need to shell out hundreds of dollars a week on theatre or movies to learn from people onstage.

Seek out local community theatre productions, rent older movies with celebrated performances, or even tap into the underground art scene. You’ll learn what kind of material you gravitate towards, as well as the kind of acting that you want to emulate.

Look for productions that offer talkbacks, so that you can learn more about the process from both the actor and the director.

3. Understand Your Talent

We know that you want to develop your acting skill set to the point that you can play any part with ease.

However, the reality is that most casting directors and even agents look for “types” throughout the casting process. To improve your craft and get more auditions and roles, you need to identify what your type is as early as you can.

Think about the way people describe you in real life. Also, consider your physicality. This doesn’t just mean the way you look, but also the way that you move. Ask your friends to describe you, and look for commonalities.

If you’re lucky enough to have a one-on-one acting coach, ask them to identify what they feel your type is.

For example, are you more of a character actor, someone who plays the part of the clown? Are you the ingenue, the young love interest? Are you the “wise friend” who always has the best advice? The troublemaker or rebel?

Then, look for opportunities to play that type. Don’t be afraid to start small.

Once you’ve proven yourself, you can take things to the next level.

4. Read More Scripts

If you want to learn how to become a better actor, you need to be able to identify what’s motivating people in a certain scene.

You need to understand what these characters want, and what (or who) is standing in the way of them getting it. The best way to start learning how to properly analyze the obstacles and expectations of scenes is by reading as many scripts as you can get your hands on.

You should also watch films or even one-act plays, and attempt to identify the needs and tactics of the characters.

This also means taking the time to observe real people and conversations. In other words, become a professional people watcher.

Understand how people’s body language changes when they talk to others. Look for imbalances of power, and how that impacts things, too.

5. It’s All About Who You Know

We hope the previous pieces of advice have helped you to better understand what makes a good actor.

However, there’s one aspect of reality that even the most amazing actor can’t ignore: in this business especially, it’s all about who you know.

Consider becoming a member of Actor’s Equity or SAG, so that you can make the right connections with other people in the business. Look for actor meet-ups and clubs, so that you can rub elbows with all the right people.

Take an active approach to networking.

Connect with producers and entrepreneurs who have experience in helping actors build up their online presence. Meet with people who work in film marketing and branding, and pick their brains for ideas and opportunities.

How to Become a Better Actor: Wrapping Up

Learning how to become a better actor isn’t something that happens overnight.

It takes a true dedication to your craft, the ability to handle even harsh rejection, and a tireless refusal to give up. It also takes the right contacts.

We can certainly help you with that.

Check out the Celebrity CEO series to learn more about pitching your ideas and developing your skill set. Understand what works, what doesn’t, and how to get out in front of common industry roadblocks.

Now is the time to take the first step in getting your entertainment career where you want it to go.

Confessions about the

from people in the business.

How to be a great actor

1. “Everyone’s left their families, their homes, their friends, their jobs to pursue a dream where they know that the percentage of them achieving that dream is never, and they do it anyway [. ] You’re lucky to get an audition. Then you get it, you get there, you walk into a room full of guys that look just like you. You realize that you’re not the only one that wore the cowboy hat. Then you can hear the other guy in the other room auditioning, and now you’re thinking about not doing it like him.” —Ryan Gosling in Seduced and Abandoned, 2014

2. “I don’t think you can really be an effective actor if you’re not curious about people and events. And if you’re interested in things, you want to go deeper and you want to know more. At least, the thing [that’s always] ignited my own excitement about working is to know more about somebody: What made them do this? What in God’s name went wrong?” —Meryl Streep, in a 2010 speech at the University of Texas

How to be a great actor

3. “It’s like when people talk about the difficulty of making a movie, and I’m like, send your son to Iraq, that’s difficult. It’s just a movie. It’s like, relax. I don’t play that precious nonsense. Your son got shot in the face. That’s difficult. Making a movie is a luxury. It’s a gift, it’s an opportunity, but most importantly, it’s a gift.” —Denzel Washington, in a 2016 Hollywood Reporter roundtable

4. “As an actor, I always come in so open and willing and devoted. I really think the intensity of the work and the relationship requires the devotion, and requires the ability to be malleable, yet to still speak up and not be sort of a doormat, but also adapt. So much of it is adapting, because [all the characters are] different.” —Nicole Kidman to the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 2017

5. “To be in a profession where you’re constantly judged, critiqued, scrutinized, however you want to classify it, I’ve always been very, I think, rather adept at self-observation.” —Julia Roberts to Charlie Rose in 2000

6. “You look back and you find yourself being thought of in a certain way [for roles], and I think that’s the good fortune of working, where people start going, ‘Oh, you would be great for this!’ But then, the part I hate about it is that how people see you can become very narrow at a certain point. And so, it becomes a fight for you to sort of be thought of in a different light, or also fighting your own fear about wondering if you can do something beyond what you’ve done already.” —Mahershala Ali, to The Hollywood Reporter in 2016

How to be a great actor

7. “My preparation is always pretty much the same, regardless of whether it’s a $150 million film or a $1.5 million or whatever it may be — I’ve got to do a lot of homework, and I’ve just got to be well-equipped when I come onto the floor. And I want to come onto the floor with ideas. And I want to also be well-prepared so I have the ability to have a freedom to explore any avenue on the day. And have fun.” —Michael Fassbender to Backstage TV in 2016

8. “You can’t be a good actor if you get too affected by fame. Because then you’re not real and you’re not really wanting more. You look at a lot of actors who, before they were famous, did a lot of amazing work, and once they got too big, it just got off.” —Ansel Elgort in BuzzFeed in 2014

9. “The industry is very fickle, and you just do what you can and know that all this stuff doesn’t mean anything. I mean, obviously, appreciate the opportunities and work hard, but there’s so much more to life. This industry is a tough one to crack.” —Hilary Duff in Between the Lines in 2015

10. “I write a bio of the character. I try to fill it up as much as possible. What are her memories? Does she have brothers and sisters? What secrets does she have? What’s her favorite color? I do all of that work first.” —Viola Davis to the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 2017

How to be a great actor

11. “Everything you do as an actor ends up taking you somewhere else. All of the emotions that you have to go through whether it’s loving a girl or laughing outrageously in something hilarious. Everything I’ve ever done in a film, it requires this getting to some sort of emotional reality that is contrary to the actual setting that you’re in.” —Tom Hanks, on Backstage TV in 2016

12. “It’s not that you change [when you become an actor], which is the constant thing that you hear — ‘Oh, you’ve changed.’ It’s that you wake up one morning, and you know intellectually that nothing is different in the world. The big things are all the same. [. ] It’s just the world’s relation to you is completely different, and that’s a very strange thing, because your world is completely different, but the world is exactly the same. So, that takes a little getting used to.” —Matt Damon on ABC News Australia in 2013

13. “I love the fact that I get to train for a year as a Jesuit priest and then train to be a cop and learn how to make a rocking chair. I want to know everything about everything, and that’s not possible and it won’t be possible.” —Andrew Garfield in The Hollywood Reporter in 2016

How to be a great actor

14. “As an actor, there’s a lot of control that we lose and we immediately don’t have the moment you start a project. You can give the best of yourself and have done the most amazing research, and then the director takes it into an editing room for nine months with his editor, and it might be a completely different thing. So if you think of it that way, the actor is the one element in a project that has the least amount of power.” —Zoe Saldana to Backstage TV in 2016

15. “Not to sound rude, but [acting] is stupid . Everybody’s like, ‘How can you remain with a level head?’ And I’m like, ‘Why would I ever get cocky? I’m not saving anybody’s life. There are doctors who save lives and firemen who run into burning buildings. I’m making movies. It’s stupid.” —Jennifer Lawrence to Vanity Fair in 2013

Intangible qualities … Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in Titus Andronicus, Paris, 1958. Photograph: Pierre Vauthey/Corbis Sygma

Intangible qualities … Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in Titus Andronicus, Paris, 1958. Photograph: Pierre Vauthey/Corbis Sygma

There are almost as many views on what a review of a play is for as there are opinions about particular plays. Is it a journalistic report of an event? Or a consumer guide letting people know whether it’s worth them investing time and money? Should it cater to audiences who will never see the production, or should it be a philosophical assessment of the director’s dramaturgy? All of the above? None?

Reviews reflect very precisely what we think theatre is. What we, as a culture, value about theatre. Of course, to an extent, reviews serve all the above functions. What is interesting is the way in which they choose to serve those functions.

Something I’ve been finding fascinating recently is how hard it is to write about acting, to put into words what an actor’s performance is like. There just doesn’t seem to be an appropriate vocabulary.

Researching this piece, I read through a couple of back copies of Theatre Record – an invaluable resource for anyone interested in theatre – looking for examples of how critics write about acting. I was surprised at how few I found. This isn’t a criticism of the critics; what they write is a reflection of what they, or their editors, think people want to know.

There are those old examples of Kenneth Tynan spending 90% of a review describing just one performance – say, Olivier in Shakespeare. If anyone wrote that sort of review now, I suspect they’d prompt a few letters to the editor asking what the rest of the play was like.

Time and time again, when reading reviews, you are struck by the extent to which the play is the real star in Britain. Be it written or devised, it’s the action, not the acting, that really gets reviewed. It sometimes feels as if theatre is marked for content and social utility, and the small matter of its delivery is a given. The Reduced Michael Billington blog used to have a very funny running gag where, in every review, there would be the single-line paragraph: “The acting was good.” But it’s unfair to single out any one critic. In pretty much all cases, it’s the content that has the prose turning purple and not the performances.

I would argue that the reason for this lies in the very nature of our culture and language. We are predisposed to talking about ideas and politics; we have a lot of words for doing so. Acting, on the other hand, is full of intangible qualities. Little wrinkles of the eye, the faint hint of a smile – it’s a series of tiny moments that would take an entire newspaper to describe. There are a few shorthands for style: acting, like porcelain, tends to be fine. Sometimes it can be “broad” or “rough”, while individual actors may even merit a couple of adjectives for their characterisation.

It’s an odd problem, and I don’t have any kind of solution. But it is intriguing to think that at the heart of writing about theatre, there is this strange void in language that means we can’t ever say what we’ve seen.

Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it is possible. I’d be fascinated to read responses. Perhaps readers could try to describe their favourite performance in about 50 words. Post it here as a comment, if you like. Experimentation welcome.