By Paul Elsam
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Extra resources for Acting Characters: 16 Simple Steps From Rehearsal to Performance
This Section gives you the knowledge you need to achieve such awareness. e. to play a wider cross-section of character types. The five new Tools in this Section will help you, too, become more versatile. Tool Number 4 – Adjusting Tension – explores how muscle tension reflects a character’s psychological state. Tool Number 5 – Adjusting Height – considers why people alter their height above and below their normal ‘standing’ height. Tool Number 6 – Adjusting Openness – examines how, by covering or exposing their chest and stomach, a person can reveal their thoughts and feelings.
For an actor, awareness of power can really help to clarify why your character behaves the way he does, and why others allow him to do so. It can also help you to avoid stereotyping. ). Likewise, a character with apparent high social status – the ceremonial mayor of a town, for example – may in truth have very little influence over others. Exercises: Solo 1) Draw up a list of powers which you personally possess. Be imaginative! – if you’re unemployed you are still likely to have the Agreed power to demand payment of benefit within a certain time period.
Russell uses the narrative of his musical play to argue persuasively that if we use our various powers to treat people in radically different ways – praising one while chastising the other, favouring one while disadvantaging the other, and so on – then we are, each of us, complicit in influencing the way people turn out. 40 01ACharacters 1/2/06 11:45 am Page 41 planning to act Acting tips Once you’re aware of the importance of different types of power, you can start to use that knowledge to sharpen your sensitivity onstage.