The Actor's Workshop of Ithaca

Big City Training, Small Town Attention

Semester 3

THE FOLLOWING IS A GUIDE TO THE CHARACTER WORK WE WILL BE DOING IN CLASS.  THE AREAS OF WORK ARE AS FOLLOWS:


ADJUSTMENTS-IMPEDIMENTS
A vocal adjustment-a lisp, stutter, slurred speech, cleft palate, etc.
Physical adjustments- twitch, limp, itch, tremor

MORE COMPLEX PHYSICAL PROBLEMS
Drunk, stoned, tripping, heroin addict, cerebral pals 

ACCENTS
French, Scottish, Irish, Italian, Italian American, South Eastern American, etc. 

OBSERVE
Take someone from life and observe him and imitate him until you can “do” the person in class 

ANIMAL LIFE
A sparrow, a puppy, a cat, a parrot, a snake, etc. (do first as animal and then slowly drop the most animal-like characteristics until human character emerges)

CELEBRITIES
Imitate Marilyn Monroe, Mae West, Sylvester Stallone, etc.

ENVIRONMENT -what kind of world do you live in?
A colorless world, a world that has a rule about everything, a threatening world

“AS IFs”-often used to layer a characters behavior in a certain scene or moment.
As if you have a steel rod up your ass;
As if your partner smells bad;
As if someone  is perpetually sneaking up behind you;
As if there are bugs crawling all over you;
As if you’ve got to pee;
As if you’ve got a bad sun burn;
As if you’ve got to fart.

 

IN GENERAL: 

Start with one adjustment.  Do it until a characters point of view emerges.  Sometimes a character needs a lot of layering, other times a powerful preparation is all you need.  Always bring in any props you might need- makeup, costume, activity, etc.  

Most importantly, you must have courage to do this stage of the work.  You must be willing to fail, several times, before you see success.  If you are afraid to take chances, you find this work extremely difficult if not impossible.   

*IMITATE-INTEGRATE-INITIATE*

Find Your Actor's Voice

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