To help me get to know a performer, I’ll often ask them to describe what their character is fighting for.
I won’t tell you how many times I then see that look of terror in their eyes. They hem and haw. They answer with a question, hoping that they got it right.
They think it’s a test.
But now it’s clear to me why the performer is delivering a limited, generalized character.
This performer hasn’t thought in enough depth and detail to create the absorbing character we want to watch.
This is basic work every exceptional performer will do.
The successful interactive performer has to consider the script and circumstances the character is in. And, to have a reliable way to guide the character’s behavior, they must have a specific goal that the character is driven to achieve. With this as a foundation, they can deliver lively, unexpected behaviors. They can respond freely to changes in the world around them, while staying true to the IP. Watching, we will be connected, surprised and pleased.
Everything you want from a live interaction.
There is another result from doing this work. It’s freeing. Knowing what drives the character, the performer can focus their attention outside of themselves, on the visitor, and play each fresh moment with commitment and authenticity. Confident in knowing where the character wants to go, the performer is free to focus on connecting with each individual visitor.
There is one more fantastic result from doing this work. Once the performer knows what drives their character, they have something specific that they can relate to their own lives. Now, being open to what they personally feel is important, they have a path to sharing a personal, emotional connection with their character. Their work then comes from their heart instead of their head.
The basic answers are in the source material, the script and the given circumstances of the character. Learning how to dig them out opens a world of possibilities. Finding what the character is fighting for is the first step.