Exercise 1

A. You are going to listen to an interview with Trevor White, a Canadian actor. Listen to part 1. Answer the questions.

1   What kinds of acting does he do?

2   How did he become an actor?

3   What does he find most difficult about preparing for a part?

4   How does he learn his lines?

5   What kind of lines are difficult to memorize?


 theatre, film work, radio work, commercials, voice-over work.

 He always enjoyed acting as a child, but didn’t think he could do it as a career. He did economics at university but didn’t enjoy it. Then he took acting classes and started to work as an actor.

3   Learning the lines.

4   He records other people’s lines into a Dictaphone, then plays it back and pauses and says his lines.

5   Lines that are badly written.


I = interviewer, T = Trevor White

  Trevor White is a Canadian actor. Can you tell us a bit about the kind of acting you do?

T   There isn’t much I don’t do, I guess, as far as acting goes. There’s theatre, obviously, film work, television work, sometimes commercials and even voice-over work, which is for radio or for television or even sometimes animated shows where you lend your voice to those as well. So, I’ve rarely said ‘no’ to an acting job.

  Did you always want to be an actor?

T   Well, it’s something that I always loved to do, act, as a kid in high school, in school plays, and in my spare time, just playing around with friends. You know, acting and improvising and that kind of thing. But I don’t think I ever believed that I could… or ever took it seriously to act as a profession for the rest of my life.

So I went in to university and took economics as a more practical thing to do, but I didn’t really enjoy it, I guess and ultimately, after university, I started taking some acting classes and really enjoyed that. And then started doing student films and fringe theatre and unpaid work just to get experience in acting and loved it and then started doing it more seriously and got an agent and started getting proper acting jobs and that was about 13 years ago.

  What’s the most difficult thing about preparing for a new role?

T   It really depends. When you do a play, for example, you have three, four, sometimes even six weeks to rehearse with the other people and the director and the props and everything, so you have a long time to learn your lines, to as it were find the character. The memorization is the most like real work, that can be difficult, you know, just memorizing lots of lines. In film and television you don’t have the benefit of rehearsal. You just show up and you’re expected to know all your lines and you just do it a few times and that’s it. So you have to be very disciplined and get all that ready in advance.

  Is it very difficult to memorize your lines?

T   I have a Dictaphone actually, which I just record the other people’s lines, obviously in my voice, I don’t do strange character voices because that would be weird, and, you know I just say their line, I stop it, I say my line, I play the next lines, so you just basically record all the lines in any given scene and play it back and just work through it slowly. It’s amazing the difference it makes when the writing is good and it makes sense. It’s much easier to memorize. But if sometimes you audition for a bad science fiction TV show or a horror movie or something, you often have a much harder time memorizing poorly written lines, because they’re just bad. But of course it’s your job so you do it.

B. Listen to part 2. Answer the questions.

What does he say about…?

1   Coriolanus

2   a sword and axe fight

3   the difference between theatre acting and film acting

4   the good and bad side about TV and film work

5   being on a red carpet


1   (Earlier) this year he was in this play and he really enjoyed it. But the role he played was very demanding.

2   He had to do one in Coriolanus and found it very difficult. He injured the other actor who had to have three stitches (on his fingers).

3   He prefers theatre acting because you do it again and again in front of a live audience.

4   Good side: can be fun, you can work with famous people, you can shoot guns, be in car chases

     Bad side: most of the time you are just waiting, not doing anything.

5   He thinks it is probably glamorous but he hasn’t been on one so he doesn’t know.


  Is there any role you’ve particularly enjoyed?

T   There’s a few roles that I’ve played or oftentimes when you do something it’s the whole experience of a job, not necessarily just the part you have in it. Earlier this year, I got to work for the Royal Shakespeare Company for the first time and we did Coriolanus, one of Shakespeare’s lesser performed plays in Stratford, in Washington in America, also in Newcastle here in the United Kingdom and in Madrid in Spain for five months, which was amazing.

  What’s the most difficult role that you’ve ever had to play?

T   Well, I suppose, this last role that I played is one of the most difficult parts, Tullus Aufidius in Coriolanus, because there were lots of things that were very demanding about the part. We had to do a huge sword and axe fight in the middle of the play. Which… I’d done stage combat before, but never anything like this we were using actual… I mean they were blunt swords and axes, but they were still very large pieces of metal. And we had a couple of small accidents, but no major ones luckily I gave the other guy three stitches on his fingers at one point when he parried in the wrong place – that’s my opinion anyway.

  Do you prefer working in the theatre or in film and TV?

T   I think theatre is the most satisfying work in acting oftentimes, because you get to do it over and over again in front of a live audience, but it doesn’t tend to pay as well as film and television, which is also fun, but not as glamorous as people might think it is, I guess.

  So being an actor isn’t really glamorous?

T   No, I don’t think acting is a glamorous life, particularly, well I guess in any way. In theatre it’s you know, you don’t really earn that much money and you work hard. Yeah, and film and television work is, you know, can be a lot of fun, you can get to work with some famous people sometimes or some very talented people that you admire and that’s a thrilling thing and you get to shoot guns or, you know, go on car chases and all those things are really fun, but most of the time, the 90% of the day, even when you’re doing exciting things, you’re just sitting and waiting around, you’re always waiting around, they’re always fixing lights, setting up new camera positions, trying to figure out who’s going where when and it takes them… to film a proper feature film takes months and maybe in all that time only two or three of those days all told is actually you doing anything. So yeah, I think a lot of people get into extra work and stuff because they think this will be really glamorous, but you end up sort of reading a book for about nine hours a day. And I’ve never been on a red carpet so I suppose I can’t judge. That looks glamorous.

Exercise 2

A. You’re going to listen to five people talking about acting. Write the number of the speaker next to what they appeared in. How many of them mention feeling nervous?

1 Ben   2 Louise   3 Mike   4 Cherry   5 Ray

a musical      a music video      a play      a school play      a show

B. Listen again. Who…?

1   names the plays they have appeared in

2   hopes to become a professional actor

3   hasn’t acted for a very long time

4   also helps other actors with their appearance

5   often appears on stage but not as an actor



a musical 2 (Louise)

a music video 1 (Ben)

a play 2 (Louise), 4 (Cherry)

a school play 5 (Ray)

a show 3 (Mike)

Three of them mention feeling nervous. (Ben, Cherry, and Ray)


1   Cherry (Bugsy Malone and The Wizard of Ox)

2   Mike

3   Ray (since he was at school)

4   Louise (she’s a make-up artist)

5   Ben (he’s a musician)


I = interviewer, B = Ben, L = Louise, M = Mike, C = Cherry, R = Ray


  Have you ever acted?

B   I was in a music video once, but that’s about as far as I’ve gone. But I mean, I’m a musician so I kind of appear on stage quite a lot.

  How did it make you feel?

B   I suppose nervous at first but then you settle in and within a couple of minutes and before you know it you lose any kind of awareness of kind of any external factors or anything like that. And you’re not aware of anything else outside of this kind of bubble that you’ve kind of managed to transport yourself into.


  Have you ever acted?

L   I was in the Royal Shakespeare Company up in my area and did a few plays and a few musicals and I’m a specialist make-up artist, so I kind of work with actors, doing all their make-up, zombies and that.

  How did it make you feel?

L   The buzz of it, being able to be someone else in front of people – just being someone else is good.


   Have you ever acted?

M   Yes, I have. I’m studying acting now. I’m a student studying theatre and music. Er, I’ve been in a few things, when I was little, when I was a little boy and I was, I’ve been in a few shows around London, things like that. But I plan to go further.

   How did it make you feel?

M   I love it. I think it’s really great. Because you don’t have to be yourself for once. You’re onstage and you can just be whoever your character is meant to be. And you can just sort of get taken away into this other world and you can get really into it.


  Have you ever acted?

C   I’m in like a drama youth group so a couple of plays I’ve been in, things like Bugsy Malone and The Wizard of Oz. A modernized one and stuff.

  How did it make you feel?

C   Yeah, it is nerve-wracking just as you’re about to go on, but apart from that, once you’re on it’s fine.


  Have you ever acted?

R   Possibly not since I was at school.

  How did it make you feel?

R   Very nervous beforehand, very apprehensive beforehand and then quite excited when it all went well, yes.

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