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Friday, November 5, 2010

She's Just My Type

When I hear the phrase "typecast" I often think of it negatively. I associate it with an actor or actress who plays the same role over and over again, i.e. Michael Cera in the geeky, meek(y) high school would-be hero role. Now, there are different challenges involved when it comes to typecasting, for me I think it is the following: HOW do you make each role different? Just because you ARE typecast in a role doesn't mean that you have to play each role exactly the same.

This week, however, I've discovered a new appreciation for typecasting and a new challenge involved with approaching such a role. And this is a positive thing. On Monday, I started rehearsals for 11:11 Theatre Company's December show, Her Red Umbrella. If I were to type myself, I think that Cara is my "typecast" role. She's a 21 year old college student, intelligent, driven, likeable, with a girl next door thing about her. (I say type myself, because I haven't really played a role like this since I was in You Can't Take It With You in high school.) At rehearsal on Tuesday night my director asked me a few questions about Cara that made me realize that I was not differentiating between Cara and Erika saying the lines. Granted, it was the first time we had read the scene on our feet, but it still made me realize the importance of creating a character. When I originally accepted the role, I didn't know the challenge I was accepting and in the past week I am pleasantly surprised at this new segment of my acting career. Don't get me wrong, I didn't think this show would be easy (I'm done with accepting roles that won't advance me skill-wise), but after tackling Refuge this summer, I saw this in a very different category.

So this is my new challenge: how do you create a believable character from a character that shares so many of your interests and ideals? I'm ready to tackle this and excited as well. First step? Write her history. Second step? Create a new physicality for Cara. Third step? Unsure. I think things will naturally fall into place once I memorize my lines (I guess that's a step in there somewhere!) but chalk this one up to experience: every role is challenge, just not in the same way. And I'm excited about it. Stay tuned, there's more process to come.

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