I've been really getting into Fast Company's Master Class series online, which interviews successful people in a variety of creative jobs for their tips and tricks. Last night, I read one that I thought would interest improvisers. In "Master Class: Andy Daly on How to be a Character," Daly shares some ways that can help you become a better character on stage. And we all know that character work can be challenging for a lot of performers (me included).
For example, a lot of people think characters always have to speak with an accent. Not true, Daly says.
Characters should have different ways of moving physically, and different ways of speaking. It doesn’t have to be dialect. People have different modes of speech, but there are no rules. I can imagine somebody being a great character comic who doesn’t follow my rules at all and in some way presents every character as a variation on the same guy.
Daly also suggest using your surroundings to influence your character choices.
Some of my characters were inspired just by where I was. Improv Olympic, for instance, was practically on Hollywood and Vine, which was such a seedy, dilapidated area then. The guy who’s new to Hollywood, that character grew out of just being in that part of town...
The whole article is worth a read and will give you ideas about character acting that you can bring to the DCH stage.
Other Master Class articles you may be interested in:
How to Develop Bits Like a Late Night Talk Show Writer How Tig Notaro is Finding the Comedy in Tragedy (Without the Time) How to Write for Any Medium (From a Guy Who's Written for The New Yorker, Saturday Night Light," and Pixar)
What are some suggestions you have for creating characters and maintaining them throughout a scene? Please let us know in the comments.