Role & Character

"Don't be afraid to be outrageous; the critics will shoot you down anyway." -- Laurence Olivier (to Anthony Hopkins)

Acting choices -- it takes a character! You have to have this bravery to try, to throw yourself into extremes. The biggest problem in acting classes is the lack of readiness to make choices. Actors want to be directed. They need to be "blocked" by an outside force -- a director. They are waiting for structure to be imposed on them -- by text, costume, light, set! But not by their own choice! I don't understand it. Freedom doesn't exist without limitations. Don't they understand that I "direct" by guessing their unexpressed instincts. I make my directorial (dictatorial) choices on my "reading" of them -- their little moves here and there, personal traits, looks, inclinations, preferences, etc. There is very little of "leadership" in what I do -- I follow. First, the text, after the casting -- actors.

"What acting means is that you've got to get out of your own skin." -- Katharine Hepburn

FROM CHARACTER TO ROLE

Character, a functional "person" appearing in a play or other work of fiction; role as portrayed by an actor or actress.

Character is a persona. It could be a mask. Or face.
One-dimensional and two-dimensional man. Hero in comedy, a man below the average.[1] Two sentence description of your character.

WEB OF RELATIONS

According to the constructivist model an individual is a sum of his relations. Every time you begin character analysis you should put your character in the middle of a blank page and write other names around. Now, try to connect everyone on this page to your character. Do they have a connection? Two way relations? What are their indirect connections? How do you define them? Here is a quick exercise.

HAMLET
DRAMATIS PERSONAE

CLAUDIUS        king of Denmark. (KING CLAUDIUS:)

HAMLET  son to the late, and nephew to the present king.

POLONIUS        lord chamberlain. (LORD POLONIUS:)

HORATIO friend to Hamlet.

LAERTES son to Polonius.

LUCIANUS        nephew to the king.

VOLTIMAND       |
CORNELIUS       |
ROSENCRANTZ     |  courtiers.
GUILDENSTERN    |
OSRIC           |

        A Gentleman, (Gentlemen:)

        A Priest. (First Priest:)

MARCELLUS       |
	           |  officers.
BERNARDO        |

FRANCISCO       a soldier.

REYNALDO        servant to Polonius.
        Players.
        (First Player:)
        (Player King:)
        (Player Queen:)

        Two Clowns, grave-diggers.
        (First Clown:)
        (Second Clown:)

FORTINBRAS      prince of Norway. (PRINCE FORTINBRAS:)

        A Captain.

        English Ambassadors. (First Ambassador:)

GERTRUDE        queen of Denmark, and mother to Hamlet.
        (QUEEN GERTRUDE:)

OPHELIA daughter to Polonius. 


	This is already a short list. Lets say you play OPHELIA. Go
for most obvious relations.


HAMLET	CLAUDIUS
	GERTRUDE

	OPHELIA

POLONIUS (father)	LAERTES (brother)


	What relations do they have? HAMLET -- CLAUDIUS -- GERTRUDE
isn't a line but a triangle. Ophelia relates to each of them not
in a linear manner -- within their relationships. The link
OPHELIA -- HAMLET can't be determent without inclusion of all
"dramatic" knots. Is there a line OPHELIA -- GHOST? Since HAMLET
-- GHOST is important element of Hamlet's inner conflict, Ophelia
does have indirect connection with the Ghost. What is it?

Method Acting asks for rather normal ways of seeing character; in any social situation you would have reaction to somebody present, even a stranger. In order for you to develop some sense of Ophelia's movement within a scene, you have to know how she relates to others.

CHARACTER ANALYSIS CHECKLIST

Hey, Devils is in details. Go for a small detail and make it big. Make noticeable the unnoticeable. Bring it out. Everything m,entioned above must be established, expressed, shown. If you don't know how, your analysis isn't complete. Go back to the text.

COMEDY MODE

Comic Hero (see comical).
Comedy. Mr.K's monologue
Tragic comedy. Mayor's monologue

BODY BREAKDOWN
Legs, body, hands, head
Face breakdown
Gravity centers

Movie's method: shots and cuts
MS, CU, Detail. How to focus, to direct attention
Body as a prop. A-effect. You as a material. Matching First Text (Drama) and Actor's Text (Performance). Conflict and Dialectics. From WHAT stage to HOW stage.

NOTES

Dedicated To Actors

Make your own free website on Tripod.com