Stanislavsky: «We have as many planes of speech as does a painting planes of perspective which create perspective in a phrase. The most important word stands out most vividly defined in the very foreground of the sound plane. Less important words create a series of deeper planes». Character, Acting with Anatoly
"A man's character is most apparent in what he does or does not do." - Aristotle
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From ACTING

... 2009 Addis Ababa

theatre


acting one *
"Don't ask what they want. Show them what you've got. If you want more - give more." - Michael Scott Butler
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Fall 2004:


Motivation -- WHY you do what you do! Remember 5Ws?

"Who" (is this character)? I say to my students -- you should know your character's past as well as you know your own! Not enough information in the script -- invent it! Your artistic work began; we need your interpretation!
First, of course, get as much as you can get from the playwright. Look, how much do we know about Jack (The Importance of Being Earnerst) -- his past is the main part of the plot. Write it down.

Still not enough? Think (imagination) and describe his childhood (see how it was done by the members of the cast in different shows I directed, using this famous Stanislavsky technique of total identification with the character).

"When" (action takes place)? Morning? On Mon. or Fri.? Do you see the difference? Fall or Summer? (it will effect everything, including your costume and therefore the stage business; getting dressed, undressed). How about the critical actions prior to this scene? Or simply the moment before your entrance?

Pages : Method * System * Stanislavsky


Games:

2008 *

Summary

Aristotle: Functional Traits and Likeness Traits (Story creates characters v. Characters create story?)
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* one act fest
Four Levels of Characterization:
1. Physical
2. Social
3. Psychological
4. Moral

Questions

What is the difference between Character and Role?

Notes

The Character's Mind (subtext) and Inner Monologue
filmplus

From "What" to "How" : from character to role.
Direct and Indirect Action

Method Acting * Stanislavsky on Stanislavsky Terminology *

Total Actor 2007


index * Parts: I * II * III * IV * V * Books * BioMechanics I * Biomechanics II * Directing * Script Analysis * Method Acting for Directors * SHOWS * Theatre Theory * Film * SPECTATOR * Virtual Theatre * amazon.com *
"Never let yourself get between you and your Character". -Michael Caine

CHARACTER

Visualization: Vocalization + Physicalization = Characterization (SHOW-business!)
Act in your pauses. -- Ellen Terry (to Cedric Hardwicke)
What a pain to see actors on stage or screen, who do not understand what they are doing! They do not understand even the text they say! How can one perform without understanding his or her character?

5Ws: who, what, where, when, why -- establish during the exposition.

See character page in 200X Aesthetics

Character Past, Present, Future

Must answer questions: where my character is coming from, where it goes?

[ Within your monologue or scene 5W's questions ]

Character' Story (invent it, if needed) a must! Bio!

An Acting Checklist (Benediti, appendix C)

I. The Givens: What, Who, Where, When:

A. What happens in this scene?
1. What is the main event of the scene? How does it move the plot of the play forward? How does it contribute to the play's meaning?
2. What changes in the world of the play as a result of this scene?

B. Who is this scene?

1. What is the general relationship?
2. What is the specific relationship?
3. Does your relationship change in this scene?
4. What is discovered about your character in this scene?

C. Where is this scene?

1. How does the physical environment influence what happens?
2. How does the social environment influence what happens?

D. When is this scene?

1. How does the historical time influence the scene?
2. How does the season of the year influence the scene?
3. How does the time of day influence the scene?

II. Scene Structure

A. What is the main conflict of this scene? How does it relate to the overall conflict of the play?

B. What is the breakdown of the scene, beat by beat? Be specific about each beat change.

C. What is the crisis, the moment after which the conflict must be resolved?

D. How does this scene grow out of preceding scenes? How does this scene lead into following scenes?

III. Objectives

A. What is your super-objective?

B. What is your scene objective? How does it relate to your super-objective?

C. Break down your beat objectives in sequence. Do you begin to feel the logic of their sequence, the score?

D. Examine the sequence of your immediate objectives through the scene. Express each in transitive verb as "SIP" (singular, immediate, and personally important); try to think of each as a desired change in the other character.

[ * more in Acting II and Acting III checklists ]

...

Method: Actor = Character, i.e. Character is your main responsibility, actor!

The Boor, Chekhov, comedy

SMIRNOV: [Imitating her.] Not at all funny--vulgar! I don't understand how to behave in the company of ladies. Madam, in the course of my life I have seen more women than you have sparrows. Three times have I fought duels for women, twelve I jilted and nine jilted me. There was a time when I played the fool, used honeyed language, bowed and scraped. I loved, suffered, sighed to the moon, melted in love's torments. I loved passionately, I loved to madness, loved in every key, chattered like a magpie on emancipation, sacrificed half my fortune in the tender passion, until now the devil knows I've had enough of it. Your obedient servant will let you lead him around by the nose no more. Enough! Black eyes, passionate eyes, coral lips, dimples in cheeks, moonlight whispers, soft, modest sights--for all that, madam, I wouldn't pay a kopeck! I am not speaking of present company, but of women in general; from the tiniest to the greatest, they are conceited, hypocritical, chattering, odious, deceitful from top to toe; vain, petty, cruel with a maddening logic and [he strikes his forehead] in this respect, please excuse my frankness, but one sparrow is worth ten of the aforementioned petticoat-philosophers. When one sees one of the romantic creatures before him he imagines he is looking at some holy being, so wonderful that its one breath could dissolve him in a sea of a thousand charms and delights; but if one looks into the soul--it's nothing but a common crocodile. [He siezes the arm-chair and breaks it in two.] But the worst of all is that this crocodile imagines it is a masterpiece of creation, and that it has a monopoly on all the tender passions. May the devil hang me upside down if there is anything to love about a woman! When she is in love, all she knows is how to complain and shed tears. If the man suffers and makes sacrifices she swings her train about and tries to lead him by the nose. You have the misfortune to be a woman, and naturally you know woman's nature; tell me on your honor, have you ever in your life seen a woman who was really true and faithful? Never! Only the old and the deformed are true and faithful. It's easier to find a cat with horns or a white woodcock, than a faithful woman.
(in class for this monologue): 5W's and Conflict * Objective * Obstacle * Actions * Choices * Given Circumstances *
dramatic:

JEAN: Do you know how people in high life look from the under world? No ... of course you don't. They look like hawks and eagles whose backs one seldom sees, for the soar up above. I lived in a hovel provided by the state, with seven brothers and sisters and a pig; out on a barren stretch where nothing grew, not even a tree, but from the window I could see the Count's park walls with apple trees rising above them. That was the garden of paradise; and there stood many angry angels with flaming swords protecting it; but for all that I and other boys found a way to the tree of life--now you despise me. You say you don't, but you despise me all the same. No matter! One time I entered the garden of paradise--it was to weed the onion beds with my mother! Near the orchard stood a Turkish pavilion, shaded and overgrown with jessamine and honeysuckle. I didn't know what it was used for and I had never seen anything so beautiful. People passed in and out and one day--the door was left open. I sneaked in and beheld walls covered with pictures of kings and emperors and there were red-fringed curtains at the windows--now you understand what I mean--I ... I had never been in the castle and how my thoughts leaped--and there they returned ever after. Little by little the longing came over me to experience for once the pleasure of--enfin, I sneaked in and was bewildered. But then I heard someone coming--there was only one exit for the great folk, but for me there was another, and I had to choose that. Once out I started to run, scrambled through a raspberry hedge, rushed over strawberry bed and came to a stop on the rose terrace. For there I saw a figure in a white dress and white slippers and stockings--it was you! I hid under a heap of weeds, under, you understand, where the thistles pricked me, and lay on the damp, rank earth. I gazed at you walking among the roses. And I thought if it is true that the thief on the cross could enter heaven and dwell among the angels it was strange that a pauper child on God's earth could not go into the castle park and play with the Countess' daughter. Oh, Miss Julie, a dog may lie on the couch of a Countess, a horse may be caressed by a lady's hand, but a servant--yes, yes, sometimes there is stuff enough in a man, whatever he be, to swing himself up in the world, but how often does that happen! But to return to the story, do you know what I did? I ran down to the mill dam and threw myself in with my clothes on--and was pulled out and got a thrashing. But the following Sunday when all the family went to visit my grandmother I contrived to stay at home; I scrubbed myself well, put on my best clothes, such as they were, and went to church so that I might see you. I saw you. Then I went home with my mind made up to put an end to myself. But I wanted to do it beautifully and without pain. Then I happened to remember that elderberry blossoms are poisonous. I knew where there was a big elderberry bush in full bloom and I stripped it of its riches and made a bed of it in the oat-bin. Have you ever noticed how smooth and glossy oats are? As soft as a woman's arm. -- Well, I got in and let down the cover, fell asleep, and when I awoke I was very ill, but didn't die--as you see. What I wanted--I don't know. You were unattainable, but through the vision of you I was made to realize how hopeless it was to rise above the conditions of my birth.

[ MISS JULIE * A monologue from the play by August Strindberg * Plays by August Strindberg. Trans. Edith and Warner Oland. Boston: John W. Luce and Co., 1912. ] CZAR: Vera, the Nihilist in Moscow! O God, were it not better to die at once the dog's death they plot for me than to live as I live now! Never to sleep, or, if I do, to dream such horrid dreams that hell itself were peace when matched with them. To trust none but those I have bought, to buy none worth trusting! To see a traitor in every smile, poison in every dish, a dagger in every hand! To lie awake at night, listening from hour to hour for the stealthy creeping of the murderer, for the laying of the damned mine! You are all spies! You are all spies! You worst of all--you, my own son! Which of you is it who hides these bloody proclamations under my own pillow, or at the table where I sit? Which of ye all is the Judas who betrays me? O God! O God! methinks there was a time once, in our war with England, when nothing could make me afraid. [This with more calm and pathos.] I have ridden into the crimson heart of war, and borne back an eagle which those wild islanders had taken from us. Men said I was brave then. My father gave me the Iron Cross of Valour. Oh, could he see me now, with this coward's livery ever in my cheek! [Sinks into his chair.] I never knew any love when I was a boy. I was ruled by terror myself, how else should I rule now? [Starts up.] But I will have revenge; I will have revenge. For every hour I have lain awake at night, waiting for the noose or the dagger, they shall pass years in Siberia, centuries in the mines! Ay! I shall have revenge. I am done with half measures. I shall crush these Nihilists at a blow. There shall not be a man of them, no, nor a woman either, left alive in Russia. Am I Emperor for nothing, that a woman should hold me at bay? Vera Sabouroff shall be in my power, I swear it, before a week is ended, though I burn my whole city to find her. She shall be flogged by the knout, stifled in the fortress, strangled in the square! For two years her hands have been clutching at my throat; for two years she has made my life a hell; but I shall have revenge.

[ didn't read this one -- VERA, OR THE NIHILISTS by Oscar Wilde * ]

PS

No wonder that I can't get to Biomechanics in Acting II class (Spring 2002)! You're supposed to use BM, when you are done with everything Method can offer! Do you know how to use Method acting?

Compare the characters of Jack and Algernon (write in your journals).

What do we call "given circumstances"?

Give examples, based on your WWWilde character.

Homework

Write your character's autobiography in your journals!

Present = Past (your interpretation) + Future (public imagination)

NB

It's like a woman getting pregnant. This character, this person that I am to become, starts to grow inside me and I listen. If I don't listen, he will die in me. Marcello Mastroianni
Shows-WWWilde
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