Acting Technique for Building Relationships: Opposing Descriptors

Acting Technique for Building Relationships

As a lot of you know, one of the most important things for you to work out in any scene is what your specific relationship is to the other character.  Who are they to you emotionally?  How do you feel about them?  Here is a tool that will help you flesh it out quickly and is super handy for auditions.

Sometimes when we build characters we forget to make them real people.  Here’s an example:  The character in your monologue is talking to their mother and you know you need to build that relationship.  You like the tool of listing adjectives to describe the other character, so you use it.  Easy!  The mother…she’s:  smart, loving, warm, she smells good…But wait.   Not so fast!  Is life that straightforward?

Might the mother sometimes be irritating?  Pushy?  Nosey?

Opposing Descriptors

Try writing a few emotional sentences describing the other character using lots of opposing adjectives.

Example 1:  My mother is a pushy, beautiful, strong-willed widow (who I rely on more than I should) and despite my deep, soulful connection to her she often makes me want to scream and rip my hair out.

Example 2:  My mother is an arrogant, feisty, go-getter who never lets me all the way in.  She is trustworthy, passionate and stubborn and she always does what she thinks is right.  Even though I sometimes feel jealous of her life, I don’t envy her at all.

Just make sure your descriptions make you feel something and that they aren’t all what would be considered either positive or negative traits.  Our relationships with other human beings are always complicated and nuanced.

What do you think of this tip?

Try it out with some real people in your life and you will see how rich our relationships really are!

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