Things I Know to be True: Performers' physical interpretation of character (build, age, height, facial features, movement, posture, gesture, facial expression)

Things I Know to be True: Performers’ physical interpretation of character (build, age, height, facial features, movement, posture, gesture, facial expression)

Understanding Physical Interpretation of Character

  • Things I Know to be True is a poignant and compelling play by Andrew Bovell that uses powerful physical theatre to articulate themes of family, identity, and change. Understanding how performers interpret their characters physically is key to unlocking these themes.

Physical Build as a Character Indicator

  • Notice how each character’s physical build, including height and body shape, influences their portrayal. These can indicate age, status, health, and personality. For instance, an older character might carry themselves differently from a young one, exhibiting slower movement and a more stooped posture.

Age and Life Experiences in Physical Interpretation

  • Observing a character’s age is vital for understanding their life experiences and roles in the family. Performers might use body language and movement to eclipse or emphasise their character’s age. For instance, a performer playing Bob uses gestures suggesting physical labour to indicate his past as a factory worker.

Movement and Characterization

  • Different characters will have distinctive ways of moving, a performance aspect that can be influenced by their build and age. For example, the athletic and confident Pip likely moves in a much more assured manner than the introspective and cautious Rosie.

Character Posture and Gestures

  • Pinpoint information about each character’s posture and gestures. These can communicate their emotions, relationships with other characters, and personality traits. For instance, a character might assume a defensive posture when feeling threatened or use grand, sweeping gestures to command attention.

Facial Features and Emotions

  • Facial features and expressions offer a visual indicator of a character’s emotional state and reactions to events or dialogue pieces. Nuanced facial expressions can provide insight into the character’s inner thoughts and feelings.

Movement Patterns and Character Differentiation

  • Assess how movement patterns differentiate characters and reflect their potencies. Notice how this can also set the rhythm of the scenes and contribute to the overall pacing of the play.

Unscripted Physical Interpretation

  • Remember that physical interpretation goes beyond what’s scripted. Performers must make proactive choices that fit the personality, background, and emotional state of their respective characters. These choices should be consistent throughout the performance yet flexible enough to respond to the changing dynamics.

Integration of Physical Interpretation and Performance Components

  • Finally, think about how performers’ physical interpretations intertwine with other performance components like lights, sound, music, setting to create meaning onstage. Consider how these elements can either conflict or complement each other, adding layers to the characters.

Applying Knowledge to “Things I Know to be True”

  • Regularly review and draw on this knowledge when understanding, interpreting, and analysing performances of “Things I Know to be True”. This understanding will enhance your engagement and critical thinking about the play as a whole.