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updated: 4/5/2013 10:30 AM

Moving Picture: Harper's award-winning acting instructor Kevin Long

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  • Video: Moving Picture: Acting Coach

  • Kevin Long directs Harper College Ensemble Theatre Company's musical "Parade" in the Performing Arts Center at Harper College in Palatine.

       Kevin Long directs Harper College Ensemble Theatre Company's musical "Parade" in the Performing Arts Center at Harper College in Palatine.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Kevin Long directs Kathy Harth of Naperville playing the role of Lucille Frank during a rehearsal in the Black Box Theatre.

       Kevin Long directs Kathy Harth of Naperville playing the role of Lucille Frank during a rehearsal in the Black Box Theatre.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Long instructs Introduction to Theatre class in the Black Box Theatre at Harper College in Palatine.

       Long instructs Introduction to Theatre class in the Black Box Theatre at Harper College in Palatine.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Long exchanges chairs with Justin Smith, a Harper College Ensemble student, on the set of "Parade" in the Performing Arts Center at the college.

       Long exchanges chairs with Justin Smith, a Harper College Ensemble student, on the set of "Parade" in the Performing Arts Center at the college.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Kevin Long teaches Acting II in the Black Box Theatre at Harper College.

       Kevin Long teaches Acting II in the Black Box Theatre at Harper College.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Long starts all Acting II classes with a dance workout to loosen students.

       Long starts all Acting II classes with a dance workout to loosen students.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Kevin Long, right, directs David Pfenninger of Lombard playing the part of Leo Frank during rehearsal of the musical "Parade" in the Black Box Theatre.

       Kevin Long, right, directs David Pfenninger of Lombard playing the part of Leo Frank during rehearsal of the musical "Parade" in the Black Box Theatre.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

 
 

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.

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