Wednesday, March 14, 2007

ON ACTING: Character

The word character is simply how we feel and deal under duress; it is our personal substance and style as we react to life's vicissitudes. Each of us (each character) has a distinct and separate character profile: that is, we each exhibit our own personal pattern of evolving reactions to life's conflicts. Some of us start confused when the world denies us our needs; when confusion fails us (in dealing with our problem), our system turns to another facet or mask of our emotional selves: we become angry; and then, if that fails, we becomed bemused; and then perhaps sad; and then humiliated: one by one these masks of emotion are posited outwardly, temporary faces hoping to maneuver the world to our desires.

These layers of reactive sediment--exposing themselves level by level as conflict drills into our unique individual cores--have previously been laid down by the individual rivers of our experience; and since each person's flood of experiences has crossed in its past different geological ground--experiences perhaps in some case similar but in detail exactly like no other-- each person's geological construct of layering is different. Charles gets angry first, then sad, then bemused. Sarah gets frustrated first, then cries, then laughs, then punches out an opponent. Bill jokes first, then gets angry, then sad, finally he feels lost.

But, no matter how varied we each feel and deal, no matter how differently different characters' layers are patterned, all characters (and audiences) emotional possibilities are fundamentally the same; all human emotions are common. It is only in the developmental revelation of such layering, patterning and prioritizing of their offered masks--are we different.


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