As you develop your character, think of them in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. What fatal flaws will they conquer? Which of their strengths will help them triumph? What other characters of the stage have complimentary faults that together, could be their undoing? Which combined strengths could be used to help them triumph over adversity? Tag team with your fellow ensemble to create this. Are the tensions internal or external? How can they be heightened? When the audience is sitting in the darkness, what “magic” you created will make them lean forward in their seats?
Create an emotional scavenger hunt for the audience. Before the “moving action” of the play takes place, ask where can you embed foreshadowing. Where might you build tension early on to give the audience inklings of what might happen? Remember, it is only through your action, and little “tells” that anything can be visualized. Your breathing. Your eye contact – or lack of. Your posture changes. Yes. these gifts to the audience allow you to create the backstory to bring forth the tension and build the dynamics of your role, so that the play is going someplace.
Challenge to Percolate:
- Pick up a script and take some time to “play”. Choose two areas to build tension as “the stage is being set” in the first scenes.
- Think about your favorite movie characters. Write down bits about her that make her/him character authentic – that make you “root” for them well before the crisis.
- Choose a character in a show you hope to act some day. Create a few journal entries, in their voice, over a week. These can even be from a decade before or after the story we know takes place. There are no limits. Just have fun! Play!
- Look at the relationships between family members in the show. What habits stretch generations? Which are a character developing their autonomy or rebelling?
~ Felicia Pfluger
© The Pfluger Empathy Movement Method