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 Post subject: Character, A Quest
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:27 am 
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born to perform.

Joined: 18 Jun 2006
Posts: 1738
Location: The John Hughes movie fan club.
Character, A Quest
By Dylan Gelinas


The character. It means the life or death of a performer. With it thrive and without it we fall flat but where do we find the secrets to this piece of hidden magic. We hear the word float around like it is just a simple concept that needs to be stapled onto an effect but in reality it is much harder to understand. If you are reading this then you have what it takes already to find character so let us begin.

First lets examine what a character in the performing is. Merriam-Webster defines character as one of the attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual. In magic we hear this all the time in the form of, “They can steal your effects but they will look like fools stealing your character”. This is 100% true. A character is what sets you apart from the crowd. It is something that can only be fully connected with you and thus never taken successfully.
What makes a character so special though? Why is it needed? From what I see it is all about energy. When you are performing in character you are pushing 100% of certain aspects of you. You become larger then life even if your character is a laid back fellow. Things become expressed in a way that an audience clings to. They feed off of what they are experiencing from you and in turn their reactions fuel you to keep going. This cycle I feel is the reason performers with a great character are so successful. They are getting a mental and emotional return for their investment and are willing to pursue it.

Finding a character is different for everybody so I can not give you a step by step formula for it. The best I can do is tell you how I found mine and push you in the direction of where you need to go.
I discovered my character while in high school. During my sophomore year I became very interested in finding out who I was and where I fit into the endless solid blue puzzle that is the world. I started to become a tad reclusive. I would walk for miles through the woods all the time going nowhere, thinking. That is all I did for about 3 months. One afternoon while sitting on a large rock by the beach I realized something about myself that I had not noticed before. I had many different characters all along. I soon learned that this is very common in everyone but some fail to see it. The person I was when I was alone was different from who I was with my parents. Who I was with my parents was different from who I was with my friends. I started listing these differences and connecting them with what I found was similar.
When I was by myself I often retreated into my mind. I was able to thin clearly and create with great ease.
With my parents I was alert to changes and conversations but had to hold myself back as not to upset anyone.
I found my character with my friends. With them I was willing to take risks. My thoughts were expressed out loud or through movement. Spontaneity was a resource that never expired and I loved every second of it. People loved to be around it and that fed the cycle for me.
I became everything I ever was with my friends times ten. This I decided would be my character and I never looked back.

For those of you thinking that if you sit down and think for a bit it will just pop into existence you are dead wrong. A character must develop and evolve over time. Like a child it will become what you put into it. If you watch a lot of cartoons then your character may become a little more animated. If you enjoy reading the works of Edgar Allen Poe then your performance may ring of a more rhythmic deep vibe. You must find what you enjoy and more importantly why you enjoy it.

Character is not something that you can perfect. Anyone that says they have mastered their character has blinded themselves to any future potential. Saying you have perfected a character is like saying you have perfected life. Impossible. There is always something new to be learned. Put it this way, if you washed and polished a car it would look perfect. People would look at it and love it but what if that is where you stopped. After a while the car would be filthy and then who would want to look at it and worse off who would want to drive it? If you had cleaned the car often it would look good for the rest of your life.
The same goes with a character. If it is not polished it becomes dull and uninviting. Think of your favorite performers. Do they paint on the same face every day and go through the movements? Probably not.
Lance Burton recently went through something like this. After performing for many years night after night crowds began to thin and he became bored. Every night for years he came out on stage and did his show exactly how it did every night before. People could feel that he was not in it and seats emptied. Lance did not have huge crowds to cheer him on and he fell deeper. How could you continue to love something that no longer felt fresh and energetic?

There is a lot of unspoken words on character. People need to find their own way and so it is hard to discuss. To me it seems a system of survival of the fittest. Those that can see a path for themselves will leave the ordinary in the dust.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:19 am 
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born to perform.

Joined: 13 Jan 2008
Posts: 550
Location: Sweden
great essay! thanks for posting. :)


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