Ausette Anderies is guest writing on the blog this week. Ausette plays Parel in the upcoming production Trompe L'Oeil.
Creating characters is an odd task. Always exciting and daunting in equal measure.
In rehearsals for Trompe L’Oeil, I have learned a few key lessons in character building that are unique to new writing, and a rehearsal process where there is lots of room for interpretation.
When building characters that have comedic moments, and stories that have comedy as a central theme, it is important to investigate the most basic truth of a character's blind spots. Understanding what my character is oblivious to helps create a more honest and authentic representation of moments that are centred around observing two, or sometimes three, very different women express their personalities freely. Finding the specific places where their personalities clash or overlap is an interesting way to find what could be funny while staying in tune with the truth of the characters.
With new writing, the tone and style of the play, depending on the process, can be really open for interpretation. This is a gift, but also quite a lot of responsibility. I have found it can be hard to pinpoint the tone of a piece, and this process has really revealed to me that I need to have a lot more confidence in my instincts if I am to create a world that the audience can really engage with. There is no way to find the tone of a piece without boldly playing, and frankly making a lot of very bad, and somewhat embarrassing character choices.
Playing a painting has brought up some interesting roadblocks when it comes to movement and physicality. A big question I have is whether to play into the stature of the painting’s image or to play against it, surprising the audience with an unexpected ‘living’ version of the piece. I originally thought playing against the image of the painting would be most interesting, moving in a very modern way. But in rehearsals, I have found that the spirit of a painting and image feels elusive in this modern physicality. There is something key in the separation between the painting and the ‘real’ world that I hope to discover in the final weeks of rehearsal.