Arab media figures discuss fundamentals of acting and
role of theatre in skills shaping at ‘Let’s Have FUNN’ panel
Online panel discussion was streamed live on Wednesday as part of the virtual media arts event
Sharjah, October 15, 2020
An online panel discussion titled ‘Acting Performances’ attracted a large audience yesterday (Wednesday) at the virtual media arts event ‘Let’s Have FUNN’, organised by FUNN, the Sharjah-based organisation dedicated to promoting and supporting media arts learning among children and youth.
The session saw Emirati actor and producer Samira Ahmed, and Kuwaiti actor Ahmed Iraj discussing the fundamentals of acting with a focus on acting techniques. They also elaborated on the role of theatre in honing the skills of actors at the panel moderated by Emirati TV presenter Alya Al Mansoori.
Samira Ahmed said that identifying with a character was the key to delivering an excellent performance. She pointed out that actors should perceive a character as a part of them to be able to portray it spontaneously.
“There is a relationship between the actor and the script. If the actor is attracted to a character, they will be able to essay it successfully. Actors should establish a close relationship with the character and study its social and psychological aspects as well as its relationship to other characters in the story. These factors are crucial to a successful performance,” she added.
For his part, Kuwaiti actor Ahmed Iraj said: “I am always attracted to a character that I have not portrayed earlier. I have my methods of accepting a role, studying a character, and researching its nuances in detail. For instance, when I read a script that has a character that I like, I search for people who approximate this character in real life. If I do not find anyone with similar characteristics, I read up on its zodiac traits and study the psychology that drives the character. When I portrayed Ibrahim in the drama series Jerh Al Zaman (Scorched Era), I distilled into it the characteristics of three people I know. When I portray a physician, I interview doctors and read many books on medicine to ensure a pitch-perfect performance.”
On the importance of theatre for artists to hone their skills, Samira Ahmed stressed that “Theatre is like
life – there is no room for error. The relationship with the audience when you are on stage is unique. It is different from performing for films. Theatre definitely hones the expertise of actors.”
Ahmed Iraj underlined that theatre was not an easy craft. “In theatre, you are facing an audience who will like or dislike your performance and rate you immediately. Theatre is the true measure of talent.” He also spoke about expanding his oeuvre by directing a TV series in future.
The panellists underscored that acting as a profession was picking up in the Gulf region, especially in films. They noted that events like the Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth (SIFF) lent support to actors and that the increasing number of successful films and plays augured well for the future.