“Acting is hands-down the most competitive business in the world. There are 50,000 union actors. In any given year, only one out of three gets any stage work at all—and three-quarters of those working actors earn less than $15,000.”
— Allen Fitzpatrick (Col ’75) on the phone from New York, where he is acting in a Broadway production of Driving Miss Daisy with Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones.
Allen Fitzpatrick’s Guide to Preparing for a Role
- Familiarize yourself with the character through the text of the play.
- Figure out what motivates the character in general, then figure out what the character wants in each scene.
- Find out what one shares with the character and use one’s own traits and experiences to create a reality for the character. If there are things about the character that you don’t share, find emotional substitutes that you can relate to.
- Try out a character’s verbal or physical tics. How does the character walk?
- Your incarnation of a character will grow with rehearsal until it melds with your own personality. “I find that I can’t schizophrenically be someone else for my hours on stage,” says Fitzpatrick. “I find the character in myself. I play it so it feels real.”