Friday, August 13, 2010

ON ACTING: Character 'Arc'

Character 'arc', or character development--its twin acting phrase--is an important demand in good acting. It is the idea that there should be a progression to the character revelation in the story: whereof what we know about the character in the beginning of the play, or scene, is not what we know about her at the end of the play or scene. Her character develops. In a sense, as the scene progresses, her character denial--to self and others--is being transformed into experienced and revealed character truth.

An arc is the beginning, middle and end progression of character or inner emotional change.

A well acted scene is like an inner detective story: as ‘the case’, the plot, moves toward resolution, the audience (and often inadvertently, the character) discovers the emotional content of the character’s inner ‘story’. Personal emotional truth is increasingly revealed. The character’s inner emotional ‘plot’ unfolds in a manner that mirrors the unfolding of the character’s outer factual plot.

Thus, in every good scene, unfolding inner and outer truth arcs has, by the end of the scene, melded into one revealing culminating climax.


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