The importance of creating a character – pt. 2 – 5 reasons to create your own
December 23, 2019
Picking right up where I left off yesterday, I was now playing the role of the Gambler at the cabaret. There was already a costume, and with the assistance and guidance from both the Director and Choreographer doing the script, I was able to become “The Gambler”.
It is far easier to step into a character as I did in this situation, there is little work to be done, and you need only fill the shoes of those who have gone before you.
Due to the format of the cabaret’s running, I would still be performing close up magic, as my “magician” persona, at the tables in amongst our dinner guests before switching into the Gambler for my stage spots.
So the show went for quite some time, playing the role I had inadvertently created for myself, and the role that I had been assigned. This isn’t me complaining by the way, but rather, the beginning of my appreciation for having a persona rather than letting me as the magician become my way of life.
I have absolutely allowed magic to consume and infiltrate almost every aspect of my life, but by having a character that I become when I perform, even though we share the same name, it provides a host of benefits.
1. Switching off
When I have finished my performance(s) and have gone backstage for the last time because the audience has gone home, or I’m about to, I can put my character away and relax. I did write my characters way of relaxing into who he is, but I still revel in being able to separate us so that when I’m not performing, I’m not “on” all the time.
2. Stepping back from my mistakes
Slightly following on from the previous advantage, but by having a character that I portray when performing, in my mind, I can attribute the mistakes to them. Thereby allowing me to free myself of any blame, go back to the drawing board and work away again. Obviously, it isn’t entirely as cut and dry as that, but it certainly does take the sting out of any mistakes I might make in a performance.
3. Culling the options
For me, this is a big one. I used to have a nightmare whenever it came to trying to figure out a routine and which sort of magic effects I should put into it. I would spend far too much time trying out everything and anything that caught my eye. By having a character, though, not every effect can, will or should be used. By having a character, I have an extra level of scrutinisation that every effect has to go through before it can be added to my performing repertoire.
This can also be applied to scripting, costume, music and a myriad of other factors that could come into your performances, as only certain aspects will suit your character so that you can chuck the rest out of the window!
4. Stepping away from myself
This is not because I have to escape from my reality or anything like that. But by having a character, as much as I can “step out” of them at the end of the day, I can “step in” to them when the show begins. Any issues I might be facing, for any reason, can be left behind. The added benefit of this is it is a great way to practice mindfulness. Since most of effects and routines are little more than muscle memory and improvisation with my audience, I need only pay direct attention to what is going on directly in front of me, leaving any and all “baggage” at the door.
5. Multiple Acts
This won’t apply to everyone, and doesn’t even really apply to me! But, if you do magic for kids, corporate events, cabaret shows and intimate close up magic, it can be incredibly helpful to have a variety of different characters that you can use, stepping into whichever one is appropriate for the audience in front of you.
Now some, if not all, of these points will have examples and situations that suggest the exact opposite. For me, though, they were the formative reasons as to why I finally created my own character. There was also the added incentive of needing a character for my stage show.
Mainly because my first solo stage performance was chaos, the audience enjoyed it, but as I performed, I couldn’t ignore the leaps in logic, going from one effect to another, for no reason other than, because it was there and I knew it.
So, day two of my solo act was a very different show. I had the same outfit, seemingly the same person on stage. But I had created my first character, nobody in the audience knew, but I could feel the amazing difference in my storytelling.
Suddenly I felt a justification within myself for why I did this effect or that one. The show had a story to it, a rise and fall, and a climax! You can have those things without a character, but it is so much more comfortable with one! Previous Post Next Post