The Family Inside You


1-day Playshop for Actors

This workshop, enthusiastically received by New York actors and acting teachers on previous occasions, uses exercises to demonstrate a useful method for developing a character for the Stage by means of a deeper exploration of your own family.

The images and ideas of a character that an actor gets when first reading a script stem from one’s own life experience, particularly experience in family of origin. We also learn to model emotional intensity (and under what circumstances to express it) from family of origin members. Moreover, our understanding of such concepts as: loyalty, hard work, and mental illness (to name but a few) are again derived from family of origin experience.

This workshop FIRST takes participants through the construction and interpretation of their GENOGRAM, a tool that reveals to us large amounts of useful information regarding our extended family. Genogram work opens up a wealth of uses and ideas for constructing character; remember that the stage character you are working on also has a genogram. NOTE: Your privacy will be respected in this workshop; you can get full value without divulging any private information.

NEXT, we will look at the use of genograms in analyzing a script and read passages from playscripts to bring out family information and meaningful patterns contained therein.

THEN, we will choose themes and features useful for making acting choices and locate previously unexplored resources (for instance, what would it be like to express anger like your grandmother, rather than like your father?). You may also choose to explore different family positions, such as being (or not being) the baby in the family.

LAST, through role-play, we will explore the experience of expanding the possibilities for your character’s interaction with the roles of others. For example, what choices are available to you in role as Hamlet, to handle convincingly an arrogant Polonious rather than a foolish one? Or, how is your Hamlet going to act differently toward Polonious if their scene is in private, rather than in front of Claudius?