APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – Whether an actor is making a big gesture or small gesture onstage, their physicality is just as important as their voice.

“Your physical presence can make an immediate impact on the audience before they even hear you say a word,” says UW-Green Bay lecturer Alan Kopischke.

Kopischke, who teaches Acting, Movement for the Actor, Shakespeare, and Arts Management at the university, led the one-hour Zoom workshop Tuesday night.

“We’ll talk about the weight, rate, rhythm and size of movement and how that can change the quality of the movement. We’ll go through some other exercises to explore interesting psychological things that might affect the way you move or stand. By the end of the class, we’ll hope to have built another physical character that’s different from the way they physically move,” says Kopischke.

Kopischke encouraged students to try acting exercises like walking in different speeds or as if they were an animal.

“I was kind of nervous at first that it would be like, awkward, but it felt very like normal. I liked how he had us getting up and moving around and getting really involved,” says Pulaski High School sophomore Audryn Just.

The physical characterization workshop is the first one Just has attended. She and Green Bay Preble High School senior Luke Dockum are student ambassadors for the Center Stage program. Dockum says he enjoys the psychological aspect that comes with exploring a character’s physicality.

“If I get a new character, I’ll immediately start thinking about that type of stuff like how they move and how they would act,” says Dockum.

This month’s workshop is the final workshop of the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program.

“It is a really bittersweet moment, because it’s almost like this could be like my last musical theater stuff that I’m doing, because I am a senior and I’m going off to college next year. Hopefully, it’ll just inspire me to keep theater in my life and hopefully do it and pursue it in the future,” says Dockum.

The Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program is an education initiative that celebrates and supports the achievements of high school musical theater while developing confidence, creativity, and collaboration among high school students in Northeast Wisconsin. For more information about the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program, click here.