BWW Blog: Portraying Original Work In High School
There is nothing like originating a role. Having no basis behind your new persona to adapt to. Walking onstage every night as a character the world has never seen before - inevitably, portraying a vulnerable piece of you onstage. This is what it is like performing original work in theatre.
I have had the privilege to be a part of two original works in my high school theatre career - both written by my school's wonderful director. Her creative writing and character development makes the job easy for the actors. Nevertheless, the task of doing the character justice demands both patience and cultivation. The process of working with an original character, in my experience at least, has taken a lot of time and evaluation. I have had to ask myself, "How would this character walk into this scene?" Or "How does this character stand off to the side and keep themselves busy? Do they mingle with others? Do they stay reclusive?" Although, this kind of important detail goes into creating any character, it is heightened when handed completely new material. Also, the process is much more excessive. You are constantly experimenting with different ways to approach a scene or say a line when you are given the creative license of new material. You begin to see various ways to say a certain line or portray a certain expression. It's all about making the character your own and taking risks, while staying true to your script and direction given.
Despite the pressures of mastering new material, the creative freedom you are given is remarkable and so eye-opening. You get to embed a piece of yourself into the character and, in a sense, get to portray yourself on stage every night.
If you get the chance to originate a completely new character from scratch, run with it! Think about every situation, every scenario, every daily task that you character could encounter and look at it through their eyes. Something as mundane as washing the dishes or as extreme as saving the world, how does your character approach this?
Theatre is wonderful place for expression and development. Seize every single moment!
Until next time!