The initial stages: challenges with creating a character

LO2- Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process

Seeing the sun for the first time

I have participated in 4 productions before Royal Hunt of the Sun, but my character Old Martin in this production is definitely the most challenging character I have had to portray in a production. The main challenges are posed from the fact that I am the narrator of the story, and this means that I do not interact with other characters. As an actor, this is a challenge because you have to work on making your character fit in, be interesting and distinguishable without having direct relationships to define your place in the play.

Act 1, Scene 1

The aspect of this character which is the most interesting is the fact that the younger version of me is in the story that I narrate. And this has been the biggest leeway into my character. By watching and working with my friend Isabella (who plays young martin) I am able to visualise myself as a young page and get a clear image of where I fit in. We have had many discussions about what happened to Martin in the time between the conquest and the storytelling. We are working towards creating a background for this character, who seems to have jumped time from a 17-year-old to a 55-year-old. I have learned that, although it is important to stay true to Peter Shaffer’s vision of this play, as an actor it is also our responsibility to bring something unique to the character, so there is an indirect interaction between the actor and the playwright, where the playwright leaves enough to the imagination of the actor and trusts the actor’s ability to make the right choice about the character.

The great ascent.

Another big challenge, although it might not seem like it, is that our director has given me a lot of freedom over my position and movement on stage. In the beginning, this was extremely overwhelming, I was scared to make a decision so I stayed in one place. But after the workshops at NIDA, I have realised the importance of commitment and risk-taking as an actor and I really want to bring that to this production. I have also realised that this freedom forces me to think more about where I fit in this play as a whole because often my positioning on stage is a reflection of that.

For this second half of the rehearsal process, I want to work towards becoming a better risktaker. And continuing to incorporate the new skills I developing in the first half of the process(eg. finding new ways to access my character, researching about characters, creating a story for my character, I have even developed some technical skills such as psychological gestures- which I think we will be working more with during the second half of the rehearsal process).

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