Invent Your Character

Acting & Character . Street . Stage . Terminology . Characters . Names . Professions . Body . Voice . Mind . References

Actor know thyself! In the street you might be asked almost any question. "What's your name?" "Where do you sleep?" "Why are you carrying that enormous rotten fish?" You'll never memorize answers to everything, so you'll need to improvise them. This means you need to know yourself, your character, to invent reasonable responses.

Your character is a framework to support your ability to improvise. Don't get hung up on inventing some complicated backstory that would take hours to explain -- sadly, you're the only one who cares. Instead, invent some plausible general facts about yourself, your life, and why you are present at the Faire. Everything else can be invented on the fly. Keep the things that work, discard those that don't, and remember that the customer has no idea what you told the last customer.

You, your character, needs to have the basics and it will be easier for you and your fellow actors if these are consistent.

Name
Often descriptive, generally humorous, your faire-name is your chance to set your mark upon the world. Pick a Name
Profession
Unless you're Nobility, you have a profession. Even Nobility would spend time managing their farms. What brings you to the faire? Pick an Occupation
Place of Birth
People didn't travel much, so odds are good you were born somewhere nearby -- does your faire have a village name? But perhaps you travelled with the Court from France or Spain or Italy? Actors and minstrels might travel.
Family
Not travelling, and marrying relatively young means that you have family all about. Any random participant is probably your cousin if not in your family proper. As such, you likely know some terrible gossip you'd be pleased to pass along.
General Trivia
The more you know, the more convincing you can be. See the References section below for some books detailing the trivia of Elizabethan life.

More detail is better (Elizabethans loved to talk) and everyone still likes the unlikely and outlandish. Far better to say that your sister almost married a hog farmer until she accidentally fed the hogs rat poison, than simply that "I hae me a sister." You are the storyteller of yourself: make it up and keep it if you like it, discard it if you don't!

References



Renfaire.com Costumes Acting Language RPFI History
Index | Costumes | Acting | Language | RPFI | Education
© 1994-2010 Renfaire.com Contact Us