Playing a character, is one of the most exciting things about acting training and being part of a theatre school. One day you’re a superhero whose mission it is to save the world, and the next you’re playing a wicked witch with a wonderfully scary laugh. There are lots of ways an actor can build and develop a character and it’s so much fun!
Why not try some of these?
(1) Look for clues in the script.
The script will be help you discover facts about your character; such as their name, age, where they live and their relationships with the other characters in the story. Look out for what your character says about themselves and what they say about others. This will help you to understand their thoughts, feelings and personality.
(2) Create a character CV.
Once you’ve read through the script a few times and made some notes about what you’ve discovered, you can create a character CV. There may well be information that the script doesn’t provide, such as details of your character’s past. You can create these for yourself. This will help you develop your character.
(3) Base your character on someone famous or someone you know in real life.
Johnny Depp is famous for basing his characters on other famous people. He based his portrayal of Willy Wonka in ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ on Michael Jackson and Jack Spratt from ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ is based on Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones.
A good starting point for character building, is the characters voice. Depending on where the story is set, they will have an accent. If you’re playing a character that is older than you, this will have an impact on the way they speak. If you’re playing a comic character, you can have lots of fun with the way they express the text. The best approach is to experiment and see what works. Whatever you decide, make sure you can be consistent.
(5) Character traits
As human beings, we all have certain habits, little things we do that are just ‘so us.’ Your character will have these too. They will laugh, walk, sit, stand, eat and sleep in a certain way. Deciding on some traits that are unique to your character, can also be lots of fun to play.