Monday, February 21, 2011

Lessons From Acting

A villain is never just a villain...he's always a different villain and I've played four of them.

The comedic government minister is nasty in one way, whilst the comedic, evil sheriff of Nottingham is horrible in a totally different way. The blackmailing lawyer and the encyclopedia salesman with a gun are also different.

Yes, they are rotten to the core, but they also have their own back story.

The government minister can't understand why women have to travel round the country forcing Shakespeare on children and adults. The play? We Happy Few. His back story? No idea, I just imagined him as being a remnant of Edwardian England and unable to cope with the new world around him.

The sheriff on Nottingham is just plain nasty. He wants his nephew and niece out of the way, preferably dead, so he can inherit their money. The play? Babes In The Wood. His back story includes a wife dying in her youth and trying to keep himself from penury. I even got to sing a song about his lost love.

The blackmailing lawyer is a character in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House. His past is about getting caught up in some dodgy dealings in order to keep his children alive and pay for his dying wife's medication. He was subsequently treated badly by the villagers and dumped by a woman who met a richer man.

The salesman with the gun? You'll have to wait on that as I'm starting rehearsals tonight. When I've got a handle on him I'll tell you...in excruciating detail.

Every character we write has a back story, however brief, that gives depth to them. It doesn't need to be much, a line or two will do, but they have to have something, some reason for being who they are.

The only real question is, why do I always get the villain?

1 comment:

Tana Adams said...

The villains in novels arean't always so clear cut. I ned to work on this!