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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Why do schools still have drama class?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (21749 points ) November 23rd, 2011

I wonder why schools still have drama class. I use to think the craft of acting had a certain je ne sais quoi to it. To be an actor you took classes, did community theater, then on to supporting roles on off Broadway features, then supporting roles on Broadway, then you earned the starting role. These days ANYONE can be an actor/actress it seem, a singer, sports figure, reality TV star, some mook off the street, pro wrestler (not that big of a stretch for them to make believe), even a war hero. Why take up drama when apparently it is a skill just about anyone can master not having taken one minute of class?

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24 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

I don’t think that’s true. Yes, a lot of celebrities get put into movies or TV shows, but they are not recognized as actors, and they do not change their careers. Successful actors pay their dues, they learn their craft, and they keep trying. And not very many people make it to the top.

dabbler's avatar

It’s a sad state of affairs for acting in the US. People have long been used to second-rate skills in popular media and are now getting used to seeing unscripted untalented people on reality TV shows. We don’t see good acting that often, so it’s easy to think “anyone can do that” because that’s about correct, and that’s how mediocre a lot of it is.

In the UK most actors will spend years mastering Shakespeare just to be considered a journeyman developing talent. By the time they are seen by large audiences they’ll have worked very hard to be able to do what they do, and it shows.

filmfann's avatar

Some ex-football player stumbling through a walk-on part on a TV show doesn’t really compare to someone having to play a major part in a stage show.
Of the kids who took drama at my High School the year I graduated, one is an Academy Award winner, and another has appeared on Broadway.

marinelife's avatar

There is a difference in the quality of performance between a mook off the street and Kenneth Branagh.

lynfromnm's avatar

There’s a difference between putting on an act to get attention and the art of acting. Just like any discipline, the love of the art is what drives the real actors and what sets them apart. Plenty of people draw pictures who aren’t artists too.
As for me, I don’t pay any attention to the people putting on an act to get attention, money or fame.

Mariah's avatar

How did you conclude that anyone can master it without studying?

There is a big difference between “hey, let’s have Peyton Manning host SNL” and declaring that Peyton Manning has mastered the art of acting. So I don’t think that claim is true at all.

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
ucme's avatar

Quality control!

mowens's avatar

I am pretty sure your question doesn’t make sense. I am not sure though.

gailcalled's avatar

Why take up drama when apparently it is a skill just about anyone can master not having taken one minute of class?

How much time you spend thinking up these really outré quesitons with really illogical supporting evidence?

I would posit that it is a lot easier becoming a pro-wrestler than a skilled actor.

muppetish's avatar

It’s not about producing actors and actresses. It’s about giving these students an artistic outlet to unload their souls. More power to those who use it as a stepping stone for a career path, but as one of those students who lacked a certain je ne sais quoi to become an actor, I am still utterly thankful for my brief moment on the stage and all the people I had a pleasure to work with—especially my instructors.

I mean, you might as well say: What’s the point in having art class if most students produce shitty drawings? They lack an artist’s hand! Then you’ll end up picking apart the entire Performing and Fine Arts Department, which some people have done and continue to do. It’s disgusting and heartbreaking.

FutureMemory's avatar

@muppetish Excellent post.

Blackberry's avatar

People are into the arts, what else do you want?

john65pennington's avatar

For some people. drama classes are a preparation for the real world ahead and especially if their future life will include some form of being an entertainer.

My wife was in her drama class and its a good thing.

She contends with my drama each and every day.

fundevogel's avatar

I finished my thesis animation this year and I can’t tell you how clear it becomes that not just anyone can be an actor once you’re depending on actors to carry your film. You really need to be able to trust your actors and their abilities and respect that the talent they bring to the table is just that. Talent.

Kardamom's avatar

Because without drama classes you get This

With drama classes you get This

Joker94's avatar

Because people who are interested shouldn’t have to languish. Also, so we don’t lower the standard of acting. Sure, it may seem like anyone now can do it, but not everyone who does can do a bang-up job at it.

gailcalled's avatar

@Kardamom: A perfect contrast. Thanks.

fundevogel's avatar

@Kardamom While Rickman is clearly the superior actor, he also has the benfit of well-written material. It’s a rare actor that can take a crap script and come off spotless and many a fine actor has met his match with such material.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Mariah How did you conclude that anyone can master it without studying? I guess when I look at many of the actors/actresses that critics, and fellow actors tout as great performers, I have not seen, though it might be a hidden secret, that most have slaved away for 4 years in college earning a drama degree, or went to a performing arts high school before that. Some, like Will Smith, Queen Latifah, Ice T, etc were rappers, or singers, not actors. Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Carry, Wanda Sikes, Whoopie Goldberg, etc were comedians, not actors. Simbad, Shaq, Joe Namath, etc were athletes. Mr T. was a bouncer. Hulk Hogan a pretend wrestler. That is before you get to Hollywood nepotism. Don’t think the Fonda kids went to drama college, nor the Sheen sons, not even Kiefer Sutherland (who I have to admit don’t suck anymore). There are a lot of actors out there who never studied the craft, some manage to even learn it well enough to be good.

Am I to believe, because the film critics are not drama majors, they don’t know what good acting really is, so they are guessing? When a person snags an Academy Award, was it because they really were good actors, or just the most popular at the time, seeing they are chosen by their peers, many with no formal drama training themselves?

@FutureMemory Did you follow that…..huh? ;-P

@gailcalled *How much time you spend thinking up these really outré questions with really illogical supporting evidence? (Get a cup of coffee, read above, _which I sure you already have with a micro scope, but focus on the details, not other stuff that is not important to the question)

I would posit that it is a lot easier becoming a pro-wrestler than a skilled actor. That is a given, but I am talking about all actors, particularly those who worked enough scenes, shows, hours, etc to garner a SAG membership. Some might be actors part-time, but in the industry they are still referred to as actor, even if they are hardly skilled at all.

@Kardamom Trying to compare Disney to anything, a kid’s show also, is like trying to compare a donkey cart to a Ford DeTomaso Pantera. The sophistication of the audience is much different.

@muppetish I mean, you might as well say: What’s the point in having art class if most students produce shitty drawings? They lack an artist’s hand! Having majored in art in high school I can truly +explain that. Art class is to teach the fundamentals of the craft of art. If you are a crappy artist or a gifted one, you still have to know pastels work, or what medium you can mix with oils, they type of paper you use with, etc. Even if knowing how to use it, you can’t produce anything pleasing to the eye, you will at least no how to paint your crappy art correctly given the media you are using. That is why you have art class for those who could not composition a red dot on a white canvas; they at last will have the correct brush stroke doing it.

FutureMemory's avatar

It’s a wonder you’re free to walk the streets.

melissamoreno1's avatar

Schools still have drama class because it’s a class about self expression, children, teens and adults need self expression.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@FutureMemory I walk free because I am very good at bamboozling those who should be paying me for them to walk free. :-P

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