I recently purchased two useful sources, I think they might help me when developing the characters I have been assigned to play. I have purchased Stanislavsky’s ‘An Actor Prepares’, and Uta Hagen, ‘Respect for Acting’. Firstly the reason I think these are both massively reliable and useful sources when developing any character is because they make you ask yourself why? Why does that character behave in such a way? Why would the character be saying the things he/she is? There is a reason for everything and to make it real you must go through some different stages, not only researching the character but creating a person.
At the start of this academic year, the first task we had was to research a practitioner, both of the above are very well known acting, practitioners. I researched Jerzy Grotowski, but I didn’t necessarily feel his techniques were as reliable as some of the other workshops I took part in. Grotowski had a very strange way of working which might work for some but didn’t work for me. He believed the emotional process would be increased if the actor was physically exhausted. I found his techniques interesting but physically exhausting even trying to understand them. Whereas for developing a character I think the workshop we did with Harry on Uta Hagen’s, nine questions, is a much more reliable and useful technique, hence why I bought a MP3-CD which includes some useful technique for practice.
I plan to ask myself the nine questions when developing any character, I think the one character I will be playing that this will most relate to is Mr. Sloane. In the session with Harry he asked us the nine questions before doing a monologue, it made a vast difference to the impact the monologues had on the audience, I think by asking yourself these questions it means you’re not only thinking about the metal state of the character but also where they are, where they have just come from, what time of day it is, the thought process building up to that moment, the destination that character is heading, they way they talk to different people and what the character will go on to do next. All of these will make it a much more believable performance.
I went on to find Hagen’s nine questions via the website ‘Pittsgrove.net’, below I have copied them and I will revisit these later on in the rehearsal process once I have learnt my monologue and see if it helps me develop a believable character which is something I want to achieve when playing Sloane, he is so far from what I am. My goal is to make change into a completely different character to what I am. I feel from past experience doing this practice with Harry earlier this year is that I will be able to think about the technique better without having the book in my hand, it will mean I can think more freely. I will do a separate update and link it to this once I have learnt the piece.
Also once I have read ‘Respect for Acting’ I will apply any techniques of Stanislavsky and see if I feel they help to develop my characters.
1. WHO AM I?
(All the details about your character including name, age, address, relatives, likes, dislikes, hobbies, career, description of physical traits, opinions, beliefs, religion, education, origins, enemies, loved ones, sociological influences, etc.)
2. WHAT TIME IS IT?
(Century, season, year, day, minute, significance of time)
3. WHERE AM I?
(Country, city, neighborhood, home, room, area of room)
4. WHAT SURROUNDS ME?
(Animate and inanimate objects-complete details of environment)
5. WHAT ARE THE GIVEN CIRCUMSTANCES?
(Past, present, future and all of the events)
6. WHAT IS MY RELATIONSHIP?
(Relation to total events, other characters, and to things)
7. WHAT DO I WANT?
(Character’s need. The immediate and main objective)
8. WHAT IS IN MY WAY?
(The obstacles which prevent character from getting his/her need)
9. WHAT DO I DO TO GET WHAT I WANT?
(The action: physical and verbal, also-action verbs)
Uta Hagen’s 9 Questions – play. 2017. Uta Hagen’s 9 Questions – play. [ONLINE] Available at: http://sites.pittsgrove.net/play/uta-hagen-s-9-questions. [Accessed 05 June 2017].