Creating an engaging character act

Creating an engaging character act

A lot of performers choose to get on stage as a character when they first start out in comedy. From overblown clowning at the extreme end of characterisation spectrum to a simple enhanced version of their true selves – like the one that comes out to play after a few drinks!

Here are a few tips on how to break down your inhibitions and develop your alter ego character

  • Develop your ideas for a sketch…

…and build characters into this. From here you can decide which role you are best suited to portray and develop the character accordingly. You might also unearth that award winning sitcom script that has been lurking in your brain for years!

  • Try different voices

This will set the tone for your persona and character. Experiment with accents, volume and delivery to bring your creation to life.

  • Don’t be afraid to play around

As with the voice, have a play around with the levels of characterisation. Start at 50% – heighten and lower the character’s status and try him/her out on your friends and family to get feedback. Testing the limits will help with your performance when the character is stage-ready.

  • Really think about who your character is

Create a strong back story and don’t hold back! Even if the character is dark and grotesque your audience will need to believe in him/her to buy into your performance. In comedy you can push the boundaries and the madder the better! Funny Women favourites include ‘Barbara Nice’ as played by Janice Connolly and Gabby Best’s ‘Marijana’ which won her the Funny Women Awards in 2013.

  • Get the right costume

The right costume will help with your characterisation – choose clothes that are too small or too big to change your physical appearance, affect how you move and feel as that character.

  • First impressions

Think about how your character would arrive on stage and keep the illusion alive for the audience

  • People watch

Become an amateur anthropologist and study humankind. Look at how people move, study their body language, walks and habits. Take any opportunity to do this when you are on public transport, on the streets and in your office. And listen – some of the best and funniest lines can be heard when eavesdropping.