Kevin Long believes acting is about verbs.
The Harper College director of theater instructs actors to focus on being active -- to effect change in other characters onstage.
"We do that even in real life by playing verbs, such as to intimidate, to threaten, to suppress, to inspire," said Long who teaches a variety of acting classes at the college in Palatine. He pushes actors to realize the importance of subtext by inspiring them to create the inner life of their role based totally on their imagination. But he stresses actors should base their roles on what is given to them by the playwright in the script.
Long says actors have to ask themselves why a playwright put them onstage. During early rehearsals, Long will slowly go through a scene with an actor constantly asking them to speak what their subtext thoughts are, which leads up to the actual line written by the playwright.
"To see them blossom, get it, develop a true craft is amazing," Long said. His proudest moment each semester comes when he reminds the students of how much they have achieved. "I have seen our students give performances that rival what is being done professionally."
Long begins his acting classes with a highly physical workout which not only gets the students bodies warmed up but also gets their voices present in the space.
A five-year veteran of Harper's theater department, Long received the Illinois Theatre Association's Award of Excellence in College/University Theatre for 2012 and is also a former concert pianist.