By Paul Elsam
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Extra info for Acting Characters: 16 Simple Steps From Rehearsal to Performance
Child, parent, adult – the words you use set the tone for the way in which you develop relationships with those around you. When you’re thinking about how to ‘act’ verbal status, hold on to the image of a seesaw. There are many more than three potential points of balance on a seesaw, and you can modify your respective positions on it by subtly changing the words you use. If you think for a moment about how you alter the way in which 32 01ACharacters 1/2/06 11:45 am Page 33 planning to act you talk to different people in your life, then you’ll surely know what I mean.
Before you can use tension effectively as an actor, you need to be able to relax at the drop of a hat. A painter needs a blank canvas for his work; he creates from there. A fully relaxed body is the actor’s blank canvas; he creates from that. The actor in performance should use added tension with care. There are other ways to reveal mental unease, for example through slight tensing of more visible parts of the body such as your fingers and feet, or through other means such as vocal changes (the note of the voice may be higher than usual, for example).
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.
Acting Characters: 16 Simple Steps From Rehearsal to Performance by Paul Elsam