Getting in Character … June 29th, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Eating contest

From Act II: Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

It’s a common mistake.

Often in an attempt to seemingly simplify a job, we end up breaking it down into its external parts, while completely abandoning the passion that really makes it work.

The same is true for the actor.

When he or she first begins to view the world as a stage, many think the completion of the adventure settles in on three steps:

  1. Memorize your lines.
  2. Discover your entrance and exit.
  3. Learn where to stand.

The truth of the matter is, these three are merely the beginning, which often is abandoned to produce an adequate end.

That’s right. Memorizing your lines is not special, so it’s essential that once you retain them you forget that you ever had lines in the first place, but instead, realize that you are producing natural reactions to the unfolding plot.

As far as discovering an entrance and an exit, you will have to understand that this will expand as you gain further insight into the nature of the role you play in any given situation. It may require you to threaten an exit or instigate a surprise entrance.

And knowing where to stand makes you a fixture instead of part of the flow. Life rarely lets you perch, but instead, demands you keep moving in the right direction.

The missing ingredient for young thespians who are trying to get in character is, and always will be, passion. We’ve equated the word “passion” with romance, or sexuality, when actually it is the fuel of all human emotions, and propels us towards excitement.

So once you memorize your lines, discover your entrance or exit and learn where to stand, then the next thing you can do is forget it and set it to the side.

Instead, a hunger and a thirst must enter your soul for new commands:

1. Get hungry for your character.

  • Do I have limitations?
  • Is there a secret my character holds that needs to be revealed or healed?

2. Get thirsty to discover the elasticity of your character.

  • Limitations are always self-imposed. Lift them.

3. Keep looking for new angles.

  • Your character will never look stupid if he or she is willing to realize that everything written in stone crumbles.
  • There is much to learn, therefore there is much to seek.

If you lose your passion, you lose your character–so it’s more than memorizing lines, discovering your entrance and exit and learning where to stand.

Getting in character is walking away from the hard, fast rules … to find one’s true worth and ever-expanding mission.

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