chapter  4
6 Pages

January 1955

In choosing the essential qualities for your character, choose for yourself playing that character. In all characters there is an essential quality which is your own. You do not have to work on that one. But when one of your qualities is wrong for the character, consciously work to get it out. As for those qualities which come very easily to you yourselves, either do not emphasize them at all, or choose a quality which will reduce your natural quality. Simplify the character as much as you can. The ideal is to find one

word that will create the character for you. Do not analyze the essential qualities too much. You will become too intellectual and complicated and you will fail to bring out the really important qualities. It is one thing to analyze and create the character in your mind, and

another to think of yourself as that character. Remember, when you portray a character, you as a personality disappear. Find things foreign to you that are right for the character. Do not use previous characterizations, or personal mannerisms. Do not follow the line of least resistance. You must take out your

every day behavior and posture, and build a person of another background and environment. Find the specific for each part. Even when you play a character who is scatterbrained, you must have accuracy. Precision on the stage is very thrilling; on stage we cannot act “about,” “approximately,” or “supposed to be.” Just mood and sincerity are not enough. Through contemplation find

details. Do not seek details in rehearsal – that is too late. The place and technical things are uppermost then and fine details are gone. Yes, occasionally a bright thought comes in rehearsal, but that is luck, not a usual practice.