Bend Experimental Art Theatre (BEAT) produces approximately four stage productions each year. The actors (ages six through 20) sign up through an open online enrollment and those that turn in materials on time get into the eight to 10 week workshop. As one can imagine, there are several levels of ability in each group that convenes into these workshops. The audition process is done to help the actors experience auditioning and of course, to give the director a view into the depth of talent.
The question that often arises is one of natural talent versus training. In the case of BEAT, the actor that has not had training can do very well, yet with singing lessons or dance instruction they have a sense of confidence and shine at their audition. An actor who has a natural talent for becoming a character will find that initially doing the task is easy, but without training and practice, this same actor will be limited in their ability to reach full potential. The verdict of someone being naturally talented is often distorted.
When we experience a fine piece of art or music or theatre, we often conclude that the artist/actor is very gifted. This conclusion comes from seeing the beautiful end result. It is easy to forget about the process and the journey of developing the talent. Most likely, the artist has practiced for many years to get to the end result. BEAT offers several classes to help actors develop and refine their skills. A stage actor must refine three areas: singing, dancing and acting, plus be able to do all three at the same time.
The 2012-13 BEAT season included two musicals: Annie and The Pirates of Penzance with more musicals planned for upcoming seasons. BEAT is offering a Musical Theatre class and a Free-Style Singing class which are geared to help the actor polish their performance skills. Dance Drama is a great class to help actors with body language, movement and dancing. Express Yourself is geared to help the actor go beyond saying memorized lines to express the character more believably. To Be or Not To Be . . . An Actor, is another acting skill class that will benefit all levels of actors.
Mary Kilpatrick, the co-founder and artistic director of BEAT, explains that during her 40 years of Broadway and National Tours experience, whenever she wasn’t in a production, she was in a class perfecting her skills. If you are interested in finding out more about BEAT and the classes being offered visit www.beatonline.org.