Sorry for the late post today. I really, really, really want to stay in a made up world where EVERYTHING is true, where the laws of physics don’t mean anything, and babies are made of marzipan, but stupid real life got in the way. Being an adult isn’t all it’s cracked up to be….
Anyway. I was wondering what to write about today, and my friend Tom, who is also the most adorable improvisor in the city, gave me some great inspiration: honesty. Specifically, being honest as the character, vs being honest as an actor.
You may be thinking, “Dude. The actor IS the character.” Sounds logical, but the character as an entity by itself is someone who could be a very different person (or animal, or marzipan baby) than you. So yeah, your character’s going to react differently to things than you do as an actor playing that character. Well, it will react differently if it is an honest character.
Here’s an (awesome) example. Let’s pretend your character is interacting with his or her mother. And let’s pretend she wants you to eat a marzipan baby. Now, I’m fully aware that marzipan is disgusting and eating a baby made out of it would make you projectile vomit while having a night terror in the middle of the day. So, maybe you, honestly as an actor, would be repelled by this idea, and would react accordingly, perhaps by screaming, setting yourself on fire, etc.
But your character, now that’s a different story.
It’s time you learned something: no one cares about your process as an actor, and no one cares about your sense memory of eating marzipan as a child. All the audience wants to see is your character being honest.
And maybe your character honestly loves eating babies.
That’s the deal with improvising characters. Everything is immediate and everything is true. Throw your ideas about “normality” and “logic” to the dogs. Then hop on the dogs and ride them to a place where eating babies is not only accepted, but is mandatory. Honesty can defy logic, and I prefer to be in a world where that is the TRUTH.
What are some other examples of being honest as a character? How have performances you’ve seen/ you’ve given been impacted by honesty?
*Writer’s note: Those marzipan babies apparently aren’t real. I just ruined your day, I know. Sorry about that. But Snopes told me they are teeny tiny ceramic sculptures. Whatever they’re made of, they’re creepy as hell.