Learning the Art of Acting at the Walnut Street Theatre

walnut-street-theatreInstead of choosing a pub to enjoy a happy hour, Jasmine Hammond and her students of the Introduction to Acting for the Camera class spend their Friday nights learning about the art of acting in the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia.

“A lot of people are closed off, internal, keep things to themselves and have desk jobs,” said Jasmine Hammond, 24, the acting instructor. She explained how the class helps students to open up, to talk to other people, to be more vocal and communicate clearly.

The two hour class with 14 adult students started with body and vocal warm ups, breathing exercises, games to raise comfortability of the group and techniques to memorize monologues. “I think the exercises allow us to open up to each other and to be ourselves without feeling embarrassed or self-conscious,” said Nilsa Urena, 23, a student. “It brings us together.”

Hammond said they were working on emotional recall through monologues the students had written about their personal experiences. “We make the class so comfortable that the students are able to say this is what has been going on with me and this is my background,” added Hammond.

The student Desmond D’adamo, 23, performed a monologue of an episode in his life when he told his high school teacher of his desire to search social interaction. “I decided to do more in my life,” said D’adamo. “Most of all, I wanted to become part of a group.”

Hammond ended the class with the students in a circle where everybody gave their opinion about what they had learned. “If you are someone who have always had a creative side but have been scared of taking the extra step;” said Sam Pygatt, 23, a student. “Just go ahead and do it. Because it will probably be the best decision you have ever made.”



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