Resources

Characterisation

Character Creation exercises

Introductions

  • One person to talk about themselves until they are interrupted. The interrupter must catch their attention and shut them up.
  • In pairs, talk to eachother for a few minutes then introduce the other person.
  • In pairs, study eachother walking, sitting, moving, etc, then present yourself as the other person.

Situation improvisation with characterisation

Situation: You are all waiting outside the Australia’s Got Talent audition room. Each take some time to think about who you are, your age and how this may affect your movement, your size, your particular talent, what you are wearing. These will all affect how you move. Pick characteristics that are not like you at all. When you are ready start to move around the space as your character. When you want to interact with another character go up to them, stand in front of them and say hello.  If the conversation becomes difficult walk away and speak to someone else.

Situation: Accident and Emergency Room. Distribute slips of paper with the three words on each, encourage participants to spend some time focusing and when they are ready enter the scene. Instructions: “You have already booked in so you can go straight to sitting/standing/waiting. The only words or phrases you can say are on the paper, the only symptom you can exhibit is the one on the paper.”

Half way through the scene throw in a fifth element (surprise) – participants must react in character.

However, try not to let it get too chaotic.

Stereotypes

Stereotypical or archetypal characters have featured in performance since the origins of theatre and Commedia del Arte. Typical ‘types’ include:

  • Villain
  • Hero
  • Heroine
  • Fool
  • Outcast
  • Wiseman/woman
  • Mother-figure

Pick a type and ask everyone to embody how that type would stand and strike a pose. Add in movement and ‘noise’ but no interaction. Try the same with different types. Pick situations and choose people to play a type in improv style e.g., in a restaurant, a doctors waiting room, on a park bench, etc.

Discuss findings, feelings and observations.