Analyze and Act

Holding a new script in your hands can be a bit daunting at first. As an actor, your job is not simply to memorize your lines – it is to understand why you are saying them. The process of discovering your character and their story is done through script analysis. Though there are many ways of interpreting a given script, each interpretation should be done with the foundation of what the playwright has embedded in their story.

Let’s analyze:

First Read

When you are first approaching your script, the first step is pretty easy. Just read it all the way through.This is meant to give you a basic understanding of the situations and events which take place in the story.  As you go, make a point to highlight any words you may not know. When you are done, look them up!

Given Circumstances

You guessed it! After a first read, there are many more to come. In your second read, make sure to just write down all the facts the script gives you. By doing this, you will have your given circumstances laid out clearly.

Break it down

Each time through the script, you will discover new elements and layers to your character. In order to do so, you first have to break the play into scenes and beats. Scenes are traditionally marked by the playwright. If not, a new scene starts with a change in location or time. A beat is a smaller unit within each scene. It is a shift in mood, topic, or tactic within a scene. Mark these with a forward slash within the text. They will allow you to follow your character’s thoughts and actions.

Objective

Now it’s time to talk about what your character wants. So ask yourself, what is your character literally doing in this scene? What is their action? Also, what does your character want from the other character’s in the scene? While answering all these questions, also think about the stakes. To get an idea of what your stakes may be, ask yourself, what will happen if my character does not succeed in getting what they want (from the other characters in the scene)?

Stop Thinking!

Script analysis on the part of the actor throughout a rehearsal process is critical. It will allow them to collaborate with their director and fellow actors. Let the script guide you and inspire questions within you. However, when it comes time for performance, turn your brain off. It is time to act, not think!

Good luck with your next script! Be sure to like us on Facebook to stay in the loop for other great articles and theatre tips!