It’s a phrase of such importance that it is ranked among the most vital of acting mantras – ‘ACTING IS LISTENING’
Often actors are criticised for not listening. They’ve learnt their lines and are seemingly waiting for their turn to speak without truly engaging in the tit-for-tat tennis match of the scene.
The implulse to speak or respond must be born of something you’ve heard. If you aren’t REALLY listening, then you will have no reasons to speak. As the great Alan Rickman says here,
What you have to say is incidental. It’s the listening that’s important.
The camera likes you if you are seen to be thinking and listening.
All one wants to see from an actor is the intensity and accuracy of their listening
Without truly listening, you cannot possibly respond appropriately and truthfully.
Learn the lines. Then…put them away…and LISTEN.