Help with character development!

by Shelby Salt
(Calgary, Alberta Canada)

QUESTION:

In school, we are doing a Cinderella parody and I auditioned for Cinderella and got the part. I was very happy about that until it came to developing and knowing your character. In the play Cinderella likes basketball and that's pretty much the only difference from the real Cinderella.
The problem is Cinderella is such a Boring character! There is nothing i could come up with to make her more interesting. We have to do monologues and I'm not sure how well that is going to go if I'm not comfortable with my character. I don't want to give up being Cinderella but I just need some help with making a stronger more interesting character. PLEASE HELP :)

ANSWER:

There are no boring characters. Your character may not have very interesting lines, but you can make her VERY interesting with a little work and imagination. After all, this is Cinderella we're talking about. Every little girl wants to be Cinderella when they grow up so she must have something going for her, right?

Start by writing a bio for your character. The Cinderella story is pretty vague about who she really is, how she grew up, what makes her mad, her likes and dislikes...

What is it about basketball that she likes so much? Does she become different when she plays basketball? Look for the comedy in your character. Maybe Cinderella is not so perfect after all. Maybe she's two-faced and changes completely when she's dunking?

This is a parody, so unlike most other acting roles, you can do a little overacting if you stay in character. For example, work on the fairytale aspect of your character and take it to the extreme. Find the quality of the perfect good sister in the way she speaks, talks, looks and walks. Start to develop one gesture that embodies that personality of Cinderella for you. Then start working on her other side, the basketball Cinderella, who may be up to anything, have an attitude and dribble like no one else. Find a gesture that connects you to that part of your character. These two gestures will help you switch back and forth and keep your monologues interesting.

That's just an idea. I don't know the play so these acting tips may just not work for your situation. Talk with the director of the play. Ask him or her why they picked that play and what they find interesting in your character.

Good luck!

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