chapter  5
18 Pages

Character Creation

Exploring physical action in the development of a character
WithRobert Barton, Barbara Sellers-Young

This chapter begins with investigation of the character’s social/cultural history. A character’s actions are related to a specific community’s world view which is influenced by geography and the way in which environment is internalized as religious beliefs. A script’s world of the play can be researched by examining associated art forms, including paintings, dance, music, literature and architecture that provide information on possible general clothing styles, body stances and movement vocabulary. Anthropologist Edward Hall has documented the spatial or bubble preferences for different cultural groups, dividing space into intimate, personal, social and public. His research suggests that northern Europeans prefer a large spatial distance between themselves and others, while people from the Mediterranean area are comfortable with closer physical contact. Myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestations. It has always been the prime function of mythology and rite to supply the symbols that move the human spirit forward.