Dramatic Interpretation: Physicality

After you have done your character analysis in the script you must begin to shape your characters for performance.  Solid Dramatic Interpretation characterization is what will give you the push you need to rank highly.  One aspect of characterization that needs to be worked until clear and clean involves the physicality of character.  In Dramatic Interpretation you, most likely, will have an array if characters that all need to stand as individuals.  It is just you performing, but you need to get the audience to suspend disbelief and be able to imagine several individuals morphing in and out of the performance.  Using your character analysis, begin the character molding process:

  • Angle. You might not be able to move from your spot on "stage" but you sure can manipulate that tiny area where you stand.  You do not always need to be facing forward; there is the right and left of you to consider.  For example, one character can always be facing left.  Not only does this help to distinguish the character for the audience, it also helps make popping easier for you. 
  • Stance. How you stand says a lot about a person.  Is your character the dominating type that would hold a wide stance?  Are they meek and try to be as small as possible?  Do they stand with legs perfectly straight or are the knees bent from age?  There are numerous stances you can take; different ways to maneuver your legs and feet to help tell a story.
  • Posture. Body language continues through the upper half.  How would your character hold their shoulders?  Are they held back with confidence or cave into themselves to hide?  Is your character old and hunched over?  Is she pregnant, standing with her belly thrust forward, and her hand on her lower back?  Endless postures exist to help characterize.    
  • Mannerisms and Quirks. These are those little details that help add character depth.  Dramatic Interpretation is about analysis/interpretation and nothing says you have done your job quite like a cast that all have their own quirks.  Confused on what mannerisms and quirks are?  They are those little ticks we all have.  It's the head tilt you do when you are utterly perplexed.  That biting of the lower lip when you think someone is crazy.  They are those hilarious mouth stretches (yawns?) that Johnny Depp's character Mort does in Secret Window.  These are only as limitless as your imagination.   
  • Stamina. Essentially how quick or slow a character moves.  Are they young and bouncy or elderly and tortoise-esque?  Your feet might not be able to move, but the energy you place behind other motions help display if a character is spry. 
  • Facials. Some characters might be described as having distinctive facial features or ticks.  If you can replicate these, go for it!  For instance, if a character is said to perpetually be frowning then when you play them you should be frowning (appropriately). 

It's the little things that separate an individual from a slew of people.  Same rule applies in Dramatic Interpretation; your characters can only become memorable and distinguished if you develop them.  Grab your analysis and script, play around with ideas, and create a character that is not only truthful to the piece but also extraordinary.