Saturday, February 7, 2015

Being the Villain

     How do you portray someone who isn't you? This probably sounds like a really whimsical, rhetorical question, but for me it is not.
     Part of being an actor and a writer and a storyteller is to view a story from a specific point of view (commonly called a POV). Sometimes you get to completely create a POV, and other times is it given to you.
    Don't get me wrong. 
    Acting from a specific perspective is why I love acting and storytelling. That is why it is fun. It is the chance to try something new and exciting. Impersonating someone else is interesting and thrilling. It's my hobby.
    Just because it is fun doesn't mean it is easy. Over the past few years, I have played characters on the theater stage who have had attributes who were similar to my own. I played women who were funny, lighthearted, kind of crazy, but who genuine cared for people. (For those of you who know the story of Pride and Prejudice, I got the privilege of playing the beloved Mrs. Bennet.) Those were fun characters to play.
    This is year it's different. Since it is my senior year, I wanted a challenge, and I got it. In the production of Nicholas Nickleby I play two female characters who are the complete opposite of me. I am playing villains, which is a new experience.
    Playing characters who are so debase and so self-centered that they abuse other people is so foreign to me. These characters physically abuse (by the means of kicking, hitting, starving, gagging, and strangling) young kids who are helpless. They sell their own children into marriage for money. (I'm telling you, they are some pretty evil people.) It astonishes me how someone could be so cruel, although I know that there are people today who practice similar atrocities.
    From an actor's perspective, these are prime characters to play! I get to do many cool things on stage that are specific to my role. I have been privileged to learn fighting on stage techniques from a theater professor! I get to do my own stunts on stage, which has been extremely fun (and painful)!
     From my perspective, I have found it difficult to get into character for these roles. Since they are so different from my own ideals it almost pains me to portray someone so evil. To get into the mindset of a person so angry that she would beat a kid is hard. I have to close my eyes and make myself view the scene from a view of an angry, domineering bully. (It also doesn't help when my fellow actors laugh because it is so weird seeing me in character. ;D)
     Then again, I find the challenge exciting. 

     It is taking a little more effort than usual, but the end product in March will be worth it! It will definitely NOT be me on stage. It will be the person that I thank the Lord he hasn't let me become. And that is a praise that I am gratefully for. In this play I am showing the audience the darkness so that the light can shine even brighter. In the end, I get punished for my crimes, and that will be a fun scene to play!