JW Myers, an acting coach, producer and director, held two acting workshops Saturday for Creative Court House.
One class was for children and the other class for adults. He is known for films, “The Pledge (2011),” “Flamingo Dreams” (2000) and “A Christmas Tree Miracle” (2013).
Myers was enthused about the children’s workshop. According to him, the kids jumped right in and had a great time. Mandy Miller, the president of Creative Court House, said her daughter took part and had a blast.
The adult workshop began with the participants getting to know each other — just a little chatting. Myers then explained why he focuses so greatly on improvisation and his feelings toward creativity.
He said, “Everybody needs a creative outlet. Performing, paint a picture, record a song, beat on a drum. Gardening is creative. Whatever your outlet it, you really need that.”
Myers reiterated the idea that improvisation is simply playing, and anyone can do it. He said, “Don’t ever tell yourself that you can’t do it.”
“We like the unfiltered in here,” Myers said. “You can’t learn without failing.”
The workshop went from chatting to simple games to loosen up participants. Simple word play that involved the imagination and had everyone laughing. From there, another game was brought in that involved improvising scenes but still kept everyone at ease and having fun.
The workshop transitioned into a more serious note while reading scripts with a partner. Myers offered advice and assisted in making the scene be more realistic.
He explained, “Stage acting is exaggerated life. Camera acting is a little more subtle than you have to be in real life.”
While doing some of the improvisation scenes, Myers showed the participants exactly what he meant. He focused into the very small movements and habits of a character he was portraying. The results made participants raise their eyebrows in awe.
Sara Smith, one of the participants, explained, “JW had extremely helpful suggestions about actively listening and responding non-verbally to the actor across from me instead of just waiting to deliver the next line.”
Throughout the class and even at the conclusion of the class, Myers had several chats with the participants and said one of the things he loves about performing is, “it’s cheaper than therapy.”
Geoff Funkhouser, one of the participants, said “It was a great experience and really allowed me to explore my creative side. I would recommend it to anybody, because it is so much fun!”
This time around, there were three people who joined for the adult workshop. Myers hopes to have one in Washington Court House again and to see more people join into the fun. He isn’t sure when the next one will be as he lives in Maryland, but he does come to Ohio to teach in larger cities.
Myers reminded participants that a large part of art and creativity is allowing oneself to be vulnerable. He said, “We’re our own harshest critics: don’t be afraid of it.”
Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @kenanipel.