Learning from a Character

Actors are often told that they should never judge the characters that they play. They should see them for more than what’s on the surface in order to be able to play a deep rich version of that character. Now why do we do this you may ask. Why don’t we just play a character who seems like a jerk, well like a jerk. The answer is simple, it’s uninteresting and no one wants to watch a stereotype.

Acting is about living as another person in fake circumstances, and et somehow making it real. Actors live and breathe as these people in a show and they are living the lives of these characters. When you aren’t willing to go deep and learn what’s behind a character’s motivation well then, you’ve decided to act. This will hold you back and not only be a detriment to your overall performance, but it will also be detrimental to your personal growth.

Every single part you every play becomes a part of you. You become a part of that role, and you must learn from that. Actively take the opportunity to learn from that role, and you may end up becoming a stronger person in your real life because of it. There’s a reason people connect to these characters when they go to see a show, and it’s because they can see something relatable to them. The only way they find this however is if you can show them the person behind the mask of the character.

Now to find all of this you must be willing to play a bit of a guessing game, and fill in the blanks of their lives that a playwright does not state in the context of a show. You must find for yourself what religion the person is, what they like to eat on Sunday afternoons, where they file their taxes, etc. These things and everything else in this character’s life is important and affect the way they act. A character who is always grouchy has a reason to be that way and you must find it. Once you have found this that’s what you have now to play off of and to show the audience, and people will love it. They want to see a true human connection and that must be provided by an actor.

Another reason to go so in depth is as said before it can teach you something. Ultimately when you perform a character it is another version of you in a different life. You will learn new boundaries for yourself and who you are. That is what the character may teach you and what you are able to learn from any role you play.

So, the next time you are in an acting class or a show, and the director tells you not to judge listen. There is something very important in not judging a character but learning from a character.

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