A well known and excellent actor once gave me terrific advice about listening. He equated it to hitchhiking. You get into a car with a complete stranger and you better believe you’re gonna listen to every word that stranger says and pick up every nuance and gesture that stranger makes.
In short, you’re gonna listen like you’re life depended on it.
Because when you’re hitchhiking, it truly does.
As such when you’re acting. For if you give yourself the highest stakes possible, you will “die” if you don’t get what you want.
One final note about listening…Listening doesn’t mean staring intently in the other person’s eyes for long periods of time. Showing everyone that “you’re really listening.” We don’t do that in real life. Nor should we on stage. Listening just means being deeply invested in what the other person has to say. That’s it.
P.S. – Another idea to add to yesterday’s post about “your personal scene study“…If you can’t find a great two person scene, how about you and your partner write one? Or even better ask a writer friend to write one? Now you’ll really be practicing the full enchilada of producing.