Here is the second installment in the
Character Development Section.
- Forming A Character -
By Peter Marucci
There's a question at the top of the previous page:
"When performing who do you portray? Vampire or Vampire hunter?
Witch or Wizard? Demon or Saint?"
And that's something that you have to have clear in your mind, before you do
your first bizarre routine.
Pick your character wisely; it will possibly be with you for the rest of your
The late Gene Poinc wrote some brilliant bizarre routines and every one was
told by his character, The Practitioner. In his book, The Practitioner:
Journeys Into Grey, he tells the reader a great deal about this fictional
character - his appearance, his lifestyle, his habits.
And so it should be with your character.
Let's assume you choose the role of a Merlin-like wizard.
First, decide what period your character is in. Or is your character out of
his own time and living in ours? In either case, find out everything you can
about those who considered themselves wizards in that period: What they wore, what
they did to make others consider them wizards, what their role was in
society; in short, learn how to live the wizard's life.
That doesn't mean you actually have to do it; but you should be familiar
enough with your character (the wizard, in this example) that you are able to
discuss the values, beliefs, and doings of such a wizard with someone (a
professor of history, for example) who is fully conversant with such a
If you are trying to "sell" a bizarre story, you don't want to be in the
position of being caught saying that a 12th-century wizard looked at his
Your character may be someone as average as a simple storyteller who is
explaining the mysterious (that's the role I play, in my bizarre work).
But you still have to learn everything you can about this character; write it
down - his beliefs, his likes and dislikes, his hopes and fears - everything.
And, once you have done that, study it and learn it so that it is second
nature to you.
In this case, you are truly an actor playing a role. You must make the role
believable to your audience. And the only way that you can do that is to
believe it yourself.
The late close-up master Tony Slydini said, in his marvellous accent, "You
must gotta believe!" He meant that, if you say your empty fist is holding a
coin, you have to believe that it is yourself, before your audience will
Same thing in this case: If you believe you are your character, then so will
Look for more pages to be added as soon as Peter has the time
to write them up.
If you like what you see here don't hesitate to send him a thanks
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