TODAY'S LESSON: Getting into characterBefore an improviser steps on stage, they make a decision about what character they will play. This can manifest itself in something obvious like an accent, or something more subtle, such as a shift in the way they walk, a tiny tick in their right hand, or a slight change in their breathing.
The simple choices the actor makes about their character will dictate how the scene moves forward, and how their character will react to their partner's character.
Learning how to create a character: The walking gameEverybody leads with a different part of their body when they walk. Don't believe me? Sit on a park bench for a while and watch people walk by. You'll notice that very few people walk perfectly erect - they typically lead with one part of their body, and it varies from person to person.
Shifting the leading part of your body is a very simple way to make a physical transformation into a new character.
|That's me, getting into character during a rehearsal.|
Walk around like this for a while. How does it feel?
Ask yourself the following questions:
1. What kind of person might walk like this?
2. Are they male or female?
3. What might their name be?
4. What kind of day do you think they are having?
5. How old are they?
6. Are they married? Single? Are they happy about this fact?
7. What do they do for a living?
Now try shifting your weight so that you are leading with your knees. How does walking like this feel different from leading with your head? Ask yourself the same questions as above. My guess is you will come up with very different answers.
Keep shifting your weight to different parts of your body - you nose, your chest, your shoulders, your toes, your hips. Alter the extremity. Can you see how a slight change in the way you walk can create an entirely new character?
so what's this got to do with writing?
How might a brave person walk? A shy person? An angry person?
Instead of the dialogue tag 'he said angrily', how might you demonstrate that anger through the character's physicality? Through their actions?
Leverage more than words to create your characters - think about their movements, and use those actions to create rich characters that can live outside of the pages of your story.