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Readers Respond: Ways for Actors to Develop Their Characters

Responses: 12


A few years ago, when I was performing in a Shakespeare play for the very first time, I spent the first two weeks of rehearsal just focusing on line memorization. After I knew all of the lines by heart, I then began experimenting with different voices and mannerisms, until I was happy with my character.

More recently, I was working with a director in a musical comedy. Instead of learning my lines first, the director wanted to spend a few sessions just talking about my character's background and what motivates my character. Line memorization came later.

What about you? How do you create your characters?

Dont choose who you're not!

Ok so basically you cant (!!!) take a character that you do not ENJOY acting and FEEL as if you are the person. . eg. You think you are dumb, you must NOT take the role as a nerd. This is something you cannot DO! BUT If the role is a dumbo BECOMING a clever awesome nerd THEN TAKE IT! You will then become the clever awesome nerd (I used this example cos I love nerds xD)! So say its an old ugly brat. You know its you. But she BECOMES beautiful and sweet. TAKE IT! This will also work in you. As your character changes so will you. BUT if you cannot get this type of role then dont just take the dumbo/brat! Take a role you like and use a positive element of you: fashion, giggly, nice, kind so on! Become your character. The more you put into your acting the more you become! BUT if you are chosen as a brat (you have no choice) then you will NOT BECOME A BRAT if you put your all into it! You will play the part well: We all have sinfulness. Enjoy your acting and take who you are and be yourself!
—Guest Me

How İ do it

When i act i make sure to note how other characters see mine, what words they chose, and figure out why they say them a certain way. İf it says they sound scared, İ make sure İ give them something to be afraid of. İts important to listen to the feedback of others, they will have different ideas from what they initially thought of the character. Everytime you rehearse try something different with your character to see how it feels, thats what rehearsals are for after all. Feel free to be a wacky character, and have fun, but make sure everyone understands what you are saying and it makes sense to be that way in the play. Remember that in theatre everything is exaggerated, and honesty, people pay for a performance. They would much rather have an entertaining person who is loud and overexaggerates than someone who is more reserved. And its important to read the script so you know what happens in your scene, if someone forgets a line, you can set them back even if its all improv
—Guest Tina X

Watch your Lines and Responses

If your lines make you feel as if you are a ditzy teen girl, the nerdy boy in the back of the classroom, the villain-turned-hero type of guy, or the new girl in town who has a French accent, go for it! Just do what you feel would make your show (and character) even better!
—Guest Bug

If someone misses your line

If some one misses your line forget about it go with the flow and skip to were they are
—Guest Charlie from willy wonka

Nice Advice

Your advice helped me------------------------------
—Guest Nice Advice Comment Person

Go with the flow

Laugh about your mistakes and you wont be embarassed or stay up in bed all night dreading the next rehearsal.
—Guest alex

Make it real!

One thing I do alot when acting is I try to make the situation as real to myself as possible. Let's say that the character is supposed to be your brother and you are meant to hate him with everything you have. Really try to use the information you have to make a reason to really hate him, and act as you would while being the character. Spend time creating a background for your character if it is not already supplied or research certain qualities that your character may obtain, and how to portray those qualities to your audience. Afterall, if you believe that you really are the character and are in the situations that s/he goes through, then the audience will be believe it as well. Also, be as confident in yourself as possible while on stage. Nobody wants to see somebody who is too shy to even say a line, they want to see somebody who is having fun up there and is taking risks. So overall, try your best to make the scene a reality, and work from there.
—Guest Little Miss Actress

Developing Character

When you develop a character,the main thing you must discover is your MOTIVATION in the scene. You must also FOLLOW THROUGH the WHOLE time during the performance.
—Guest Joy

Character Development

Though working these days as a theatrical techy, I have worked for 10 + years in the field of theatre. Generally the standard these days for character development stems from the foundation laid by Stanislovsky in The Actor Prepares. Through research and basic ground work you learn or decide who your character is. For a bit easier read try Robert Cohen's book Acting One. He has taken these initial ideas from Stanislovsky to create the GOTE technique. Which stands for Goal, Others, Tactics, & Expectations. Using this simple model an actor can visually lay out on paper the wants, needs, and goals of there persona. This is also coupled with a basic history of the character, things such as martial status, age, gender...etc. all lead the actor to a deep understanding of the character at hand. Some of this information is provided by the script, some by research (in the case of characters of real people), and some will be based off of decisions made by the actor.
—Guest Theatre


dont make yourself the character but the character yourself.
—Guest charles waridi

Beautiful advice

Thanks for this simple system. I would usually read it through once and then try to memorise each line in the next reading. I always felt really disorganised whenever I used this technique, but I'm sure yours will work wonders for me.
—Guest Doll

It all starts with the play

It seems obvious, but the first place to get insight into your character is by reading the play. Before making any decisions or judgments about your character, read the whole play three times. The first read is a "pleasure read". Just read the play as a whole purely for enjoyment purposes, paying no particular attention to your character. Read the play a second time, this time recording everything that is said about your character, and every detail you can find about the environment and people surrounding your character. Also record everything that the other characters do to affect your character. The third time through, write down everything your character says about others and every change your character makes to the world around them. By this time you should have a pretty good framework to start from.

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