Friday, August 01, 2008

ON ACTING: The Strata of Character

During the overall progress of a scene, there is an increasing revelation of who and what the character is; until, at the end of a scene there is the penultimate moment of recognition, the deepest level of self-revelation.

The layers of a character's personality--including the sequencing of them, their hierarchy of depth or shallowness within--are the character's emotional profile.

The actor must remember that upon entering the scene all of the character's emotions are potential within him/her.

The rivers of experience have deposited chronologically and sequentially the 'mud' of the character's emotional reactions over time: early happiness, confusions, angers, sadness. They have built layer upon layer, like geological strata, the emotional events of the character's life as they have residually piled up and affected him/her, become his/her personality. Nothing is lost. There is no past, just an ever-expanding present, ready to be exposed.

The scene acts then upon the character like an excavation tool, a huge shovel, digging moment by moment, throughout the scene, deeper and deeper into the character's geological emotional nature; until, by the end, all the character's truth is revealed; and climax, the deepest self-revelation, is achieved.


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