How to Handle Characterization During Rehearsals in Acting


I said that you can persuade the audience that you are the character, or that the character is you, add that to some extent all roles, however close they are to the real you, need characterizing. In present day acting, which is very true to life, to real thought patterns, speech and behavior, characterization is a very subtle matter. The actor when offered a part says to himself ‘Why me?’ The first answer may be that in the broadest personality terms, the character is rather like the actor. The next answer might be that he or she has certain skills and aptitudes, qualities of voice, movement, personality and temperament that are useful for playing the part. Romeo should be young-looking, agile and have a lot of youthful sex-appeal, strong emotions and the openness to express them; he should also have an attractive voice, good speech, intelligence, and a sense of humor – a specification which many young male actors can fulfill. Jimmy Porter’s weary and much-abused wife Alison should be able to summon up every subtle nuance of upper-middle class English speech and physical demeanor, even though her clothes and surroundings are shabby, and she hasn’t had a decent hair-do in months. She must also have a quality of temperament which suggests fragility of physical and emotional health. This girl has not been prepared for the life she’s leading: the lower, discontented end of the rat-race, where finally they’re all losers. A difficult part to cast and play and a robustly handsome girl or a woman with an irresistible smile wouldn’t be able to play her unless she could sink these qualities and suggest the fragility and polite gentle warmth of Alison.

Handle Characterization

Everyone has a different view of a play and its characters, including the actors in it. True playing of character arises from the interaction of the actors, and later the characters as they develop and relate to each other. The character the actor finally brings to performance may be very different from his original conception. Yet to begin with a series of questions must be asked and answered, since they are the foundation stones on which character is built. Most of this information can be derived from the script, what the character says about himself, or what other people say about him or her but this is not to say that you can expect to get a blueprint of the character from the text. Good dramatists don’t dictate, they allow character to be interpreted, and often an actor develops a characterization from a mere hint, an adjective perhaps.

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About the Author: Cody Riffel is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo. She likes to write on variety of topics, whatever interests her. She also likes to share what she learns over the Internet and her day-to-day life.

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