The following hot performance tip is from my book A Perfect Performance.
HOT PERFORMANCE TIP #4
SCRIPT PREPARATION: THE FIRST READ
•When you first read a script, read it with a neutral tone out loud with very little interpretation and emotion. Don’t jump to conclusions and make obvious choices without having explored all possibilities first. Your ‘performance’ will initially sound flat, which is what you’re after. This is the absolute most basic (and possibly worst!) performance you will do for this scene. Don’t panic! It’s meant to be. With each read and rehearsal your connection to the scene will grow stronger thereby adding more layers and emotional depth. Your performance is becoming more engaging by the take. But it must start with a neutral tone in order for you to not judge the scene and make obvious choices. Just like the writer has, you too must explore first. This takes time. If you make immediate choices your scene runs the risk of a lack-luster performance (not always but quite often).