Advanced Acting Exercise – Interacting with Innate Objects with True Purpose

by on December 18th, 2010
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I want you to look around your room or house. When you look throughout your belongings you will likely see an object that speaks to you. You will likely see an object that reminds you of an event, or of a person. This emotional response to innate objects is what helps cultivate you as a person as it shows that you have history and can instantly conjure up memories and emotions.

The “Interacting With Objects With True Purpose” exercise is an excellent exercise to help actors understand how to engage with certain objects and interact with them with a backstory.


The goal and purpose of this exercise is to allow actors the freedom of delving into a character and teaching these performers how work with props and other objects. When delving throughout this exercise, make sure the actors are not simply looking and touching these objects, but are interacting with them through the use of subtext, which is the internal thought process of a person. This subtext will help guide their actions from simply doing to true feeling.


Select an actor to perform this exercise. Before the scene starts, give the actor a scenario. Make sure that the actor does not talk, or if he does, he does not talk throughout the entire performance. Encourage the actor to take several seconds to look at the object and create a backstory as to why the object is important, or why he is performing certain actions.

· Unwrapping a present · Reading a break-up letter · Setting the table · Repairing a valuable item · Counting money · Writing a suicide note · Reading a will from your grandfather · Touching a coffin · Searching through a drawer · Folding your lover’s laundry · Looking at an item given to you from a deceased individual · Looking at a car that has been crashed, which had a loved one in it · Trying on clothing at a department store · Selecting your shoes for the day

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