By Paul Elsam
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Extra resources for Acting Characters: 16 Simple Steps From Rehearsal to Performance
If we have indeed met – if we are in fact friends – then you won’t mind me poking fun at your status as a reader (you can’t help struggling with these concepts, can you? Try reading it all again s-l-o-w-l-y). And you can call my book a heap of turgid, self-indulgent cowdung (probably). Friends allow each other to flout the rules of verbal status, and they use humour as the weapon. Acting tip The tantalising thing about all this for an actor, is that much of the detail of this stuff can’t be known until rehearsal begins.
As part of your acting planning, it can be useful to represent your status relationship with another character as a 36 01ACharacters 1/2/06 11:45 am Page 37 planning to act sort of a snapshot. And the ‘seesaw’ image is a particularly strong yet simple one to use. In the bottom-right section of the Character Profile Sheet, you’ll see the title ‘Status’. Follow the guidelines in the section in the Appendix to show a key status relationship with another character. Example: Natasha from Three Sisters When you’re filling in the ‘seesaw’ section of a Character Profile Sheet, you’re effectively drawing together your sense of your character’s overall status – social, verbal and physical – in relation to another key character.
Masha) A question of personality How would you describe your character’s personality? For that matter, how would you describe your own personality? Like you, a well-written character will be full of patterns and contradictions. Some actors are very shy. Apparently calm people can suddenly become aggressive. ‘Born’ leaders can lose confidence 17 01ACharacters 1/2/06 11:45 am Page 18 acting characters in themselves. This is true in life – as in drama. Totally predictable people are the least interesting people; totally predictable characters in plays are the least interesting characters.