When a writer puts pen to paper to produce a piece of literature there is usually an intention to educate, or maybe provoke some sort of reaction. At any rate the aim is surely to stimulate the audience. When that writer is a playwright it is even more apparent that he or she is honing their craft in order to make a statement, produce emotion, generate a reaction and at the very least entertain. There’s a considerable amount of thought and effort generated on the writer’s part and to fully represent that and do the material justice a number of forces must come into play. Once a playwright has chosen the subject matter that inspires them they must go to some lengths to research the material and produce an authentic picture of a time and place, of an event and the characters that relate to that. You can read that from the written page and enjoy the dialogue or even listen to a recording and capture a sense of the material but there is surely no better way to share in the author’s intentions then to see their work come to life on the stage.

Today we have the advent of television and the cinema, but the purists will claim that the theatre is where the magic happens and the dramatization of the playwright’s vision is born. The actor that takes on the challenge of participating in this adventure is charged with bringing to life a character that has thus far lived in the imagination of the writer. There are a number of techniques that could be helpful or necessary to obtain the most convincing and thus successful performance. What is it that we most enjoy about a play? It is often the ability to relate to the story and the actions of the people. We want to feel that we identify with them as people. Just as we get to know real people from the gradual unfolding of their personalities and mannerisms so the words and actions of the players in any given drama will help us to view them as real people.

So how does one transition from actor to character?

First of all, the material has to be read. The dialogue but also any supporting information provided by the writer. You need to become familiar with every aspect of the character’s life from physical cues to emotional ones, from historical information that helps round out the character to viewpoints they may be expected to hold. All these details will produce a depth that begins to mimic the reality of a person and help to make them authentic. If the script doesn’t provide all such details, a good actor will find a way to imagine the necessary ones to get the job done. The more information the actor can develop around his character the more he will be capable of relating to it. That brings us to the next point. Relating to the character helps the actor to not just go through the motions but make a connection that will result in an authentic performance.

If you haven’t lived the life, your character has to find something relatable that has parallel significance and feed into that. Empathizing with the situation, being in someone’s shoes as it were will generate the necessary emotions to make the connection and portray a fuller more rounded character. Never be afraid to take risks! being in touch with the character the actor will ultimately be able to have a measure of spontaneity that live theatre can foster perhaps where film and television do not. The run of a play can be such that every performance is a little different and ever evolving. Listening to one’s own performance and being in tune with every aspect of the character will ensure the most successful portrayal.


  • Author : Siry
  • Date : November 12, 2017
  • Category : ACTOR