Friday, November 13, 2009

Getting into character

I am often asked how an actor gets into character and finds the emotional responses that are proper to the character for a monologue or role. Understanding what the acting process is , what a playwright writes when he writes dialogue, and how to be an effective actor will help an actor 'get into character'. The acting process is what an actor does to become the character. The actor does not create the character as the playwright or screenwriter has already done that. What the actor does is to stand on stage or in front of the camera in place of the character. He represents the character. He does this by first establishing the physical character. Using the information in the script and any other sources about the way this character would look,, the actor adopts the posture, walk, gestures, voice, mannerisms, and dress of the character. This however is not the acting. This is merely providing the physical 'vessel' in which the character resides. It may take lots of creativity and imagination and research to do this, or it may take none at all because the vessel of the character is exactly like you physically. No matter. Becoming the physical character is the first step in the acting process. The acting of the role is the responding to the stimuli of each moment of the scenes of the role. This is done without pretense or artificiality. The actor allows him or her self to emotionally respond fully and without inhibition to the stimuli of each moment. These responses are guided by the script. The lines of a play or filmscript are indications of the emotional and physical responses the character is having to the stimuli of the scene. So while the actor is emotionally responding to the scene (with his or her own emotional response), he or she is saying the dialogue. The character's physical response is also in the speeches. The lines tell the actor what to do physically. This is why Shakespeare says to "suit the action to the word, the word to the action." Following this process of 'acting', the actor is most likely to be effective in his or her acting. Today's effective actors react, they do not 'act' which is to say they do not pretend. Thus they are most creative, and vulnerable. They have gotten into character.

1 comment:

  1. Wow... this is the nitty gritty of it. Effective actors do not pretend... This is really making me look at acting differently.