Understanding Characterisation in Drama

  • Characterisation refers to the process by which an actor develops a complete and believable character. It’s important to understand the fundamental factors related to characterisation.
  • The objective of characterisation is to create a character that engages with the audience, encouraging them to become emotionally invested in the plot of the drama.
  • Both physical and psychological characteristics are part of characterisation. This includes traits like appearance, personality, speech, thoughts, and actions.
  • A well-crafted character will have strengths, weaknesses, desires, and fears. These elements add depth to the character, making them seem more realistic.
  • Understanding a character’s motivations - the reasons why a character behaves a certain way or makes certain choices - is also an essential part of characterisation.

Utilising Script for Characterisation

  • The given scenario or script can play an integral role in characterisation. The text often contains valuable information about the character’s background, character-relationships, intent, and overall story.

Use of Physical Expressions and Alterations in Characterisation

  • Incorporate the use of body language, voice inflexion, and facial expressions in characterisation. These elements play an integral role in conveying a character’s emotional state and intentions.
  • Familiarise oneself with the use of costumes, props and make-up to enhance characterisation. These elements can greatly contribute to the representation of a character.

Character Development and Consistency

  • Improvisation plays a key role in character development. Often, the most convincing characters are born out of spontaneous acting and responding naturally to other characters and situations.
  • Remember that characterisation isn’t static. Characters should develop and change throughout the course of a drama, reflecting the impact of the events they experience.
  • The importance of consistency in characterisation shouldn’t be underestimated. Even as characters develop and change, they should remain true to their fundamental traits and motivations unless the script requires a dramatic shift.

The Impact of Characterisation on Performance

  • Always keep in mind that effective characterisation contributes hugely to the overall success and engagement of a performance. It is not simply a case of ‘putting on a character’, but rather understanding and becoming the character.