Characterisation

Characterisation

Characterization is a process of conveying information about characters in fiction or conversation. Characters are usually present by description and through their actions, speech, and thoughts.

=Characterization in Drama=In performance an actor has less time to characterize and so can risk the character coming across as underdeveloped. The great realists of dramaturgy have relied heavily on implicit characterization which occupy the main body of their character driven plays. Examples of these playwrights are Henrik Ibsen, August Strindberg and Anton Chekhov. Such psychological epics as The Seagull indirectly characterize the protagonists so that the audience is drawn into their inner turmoils as they are slowly revealed over the 3 hours of time spent with the characters. The actors taking on these roles must also characterize over a long period of time, to the point that there seems to be no direct statement of who the character is at any point, this realism in acting requires the actor to characterize from their own persona as a starting point. The audience therefore does not recognize a realistic characterization immediately.

However the playwright and actor also have the choice of direct characterization in a similar vein to the writer in literature. The presentation of a character for a sociological discussion only has to be as real as the discussion requires. In this way a character can be used as an iconic reference by a playwright to suggest location, an epoch in history, or even draw in a political debate. The inclusion of a stock character, or in literary terms an archetypal character, by a playwright can risk drawing overly simplistic pictures of people and smack of stereotyping however the degree of success in direct characterization in order to swiftly get to the action varies from play to play and often according to the use the character is put to. In explicitly characterizing a certain character the actor makes a similar gamble. The choice of what aspects of a character are "demonstrated" by the actor to directly characterize is a political choice and makes a statement as to the ethics and agenda of the actor and the play as a whole. Examples of direct characterization are found in mime especially, and in Epic theater, yet also in the work of Steven Berkoff, The Wooster Group, and Complicit.

Both and explicit characterization in drama can result in a problematic, politically unstable character, even a stereotype. And conversely both direct and indirect characterization can make complex and unique characters depending on the choices made by those doing the characterizing.

ee also

*Fictional character
*Character creation

External links

* [http://www.cas.usf.edu/lis/lis6585/class/litelem.html Outline on Literary Elements] by Dr. Marilyn H. Stauffer of the University of South Florida
* [http://blog.wku.edu/podcasts/Waters_ENG200_DocLecture2.php Lecture about Fiction] by Professor Waters of the Western Kentucky University, especially the [http://blog.wku.edu/podcasts/Waters_ENG200_Fiction.ppt accompanying PowerPoint presentation]
* [http://web.uvic.ca/wguide/Pages/LTCharacter.html Character and characterization] in [http://web.uvic.ca/wguide/Pages/LiteraryTermsIndex.html#AlphabetTop "The UVic Writer's Guide"] (from the University of Victoria)
* [http://web.media.mit.edu/~bkort/Drama.html Drama Theory]

References


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