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Character Development Paper

Before you begin to write, make sure youve read the play at least once. I recommend
three times. Read once just to let it flow over you and a get a sense of it. Read again to
play detective and note specific items such as 1) what is said about the character (by your
character, other characters, playwright notes, etc.) and 2) given circumstances (such as
time of day, year, environment, etc.). Then read again to see if anything else pops to the
surface. THEN, make sure you include the following, but feel free to include more:

Major occurrences/events: This can be in outline or essay form. Just make sure you cover all of
the key moments of the play (not just the scene). This is from your point of view as the ACTOR,
not the CHARACTER.

Characters progression: Again from beginning to end of play and all subtle developments that
occur along the way. You may find its helpful to have this in essay form. How is your character
different at the end than where he or she started? You may relate this to pivotal scenes.

Relationship to other characters: Write a little something about each primary relationshipthis
is true whether or not they are in the play. For example, Carol in Oleanna talks a lot about her
Group. Members of the group do not appear in the play, and yet it would be very helpful for
the actor playing Carol to have a strong sense of the organization and the individuals who
comprise it. No need to go into depth with secondary relationships, unless you find it useful.
This could also be illustrated in a non-linear way with drawings and descriptions.

Character Bio: Helpful to write in the first person. The rest of the paper can be from your point
of view, but its helpful to take on the characters personality when relating the background. Let
your imagination soar and fill in all the gaps from birth to the scene. It doesnt have to be
incredibly long, but its most helpful if you capture at least three periods of time (childhood,
growing up, and recent past). You may want to mention who raised you. Who were your greatest
influences? Perhaps relate one of your character memories that youve discovered from the

Analysis of motivations, needs, and dreams: This is a good place for you, the actor, to provide
your editorial comments about the character bio. Find the strongest dreams you can. And its not
just for the scene, its for the play. Do they want fame, love, respect, etc? What would be your
characters motto? Something like, Live and Let Live. Or, perhaps, Get them before they get

Relationship of scene to overall arc of play: Where does it occur comes chronologically? How
does it function dramaturgically? Where does it take your character developmentally?

List of Outside Influences: This is an area for you to discuss your work outside of the script to
help you connect to the character. Could be just about anything. I find art, poetry, and music
particularly helpful. And different characters will require different inspiration. Think about their
astrological sign, if thats helpful to you. Study a chosen animal for similarities of temperament
and tempo.

In addition

Rehearsal Log: Please list every time you met (date and time), where you met, and the area of
concentration (look-up read, dramatic improv, focusing on environment, etc.). Be sure to write at
least one thing you learned from the rehearsal.

Triggered Text: Provide a relatively clean copy of your script with your trigger numbers,
slashes, and circles included. Dont forget that every expressed thought that the character has
should have a trigger.
Grading Criteria

For the paper:

1) How it looks on the page, whether its clean and readable. Points will be deducted for
typographical and grammatical errors, so be sure to proof your paper! Should be double
spaced, typed with margins no larger than one inch, with font no larger than 12 pt; on
standard sized bond paper, and with all pages stapled. Should begin on page 1 with your
name, name of class, and the date (though a cover page is optional, especially if it
incorporates some image that was useful in your character development. Though there
is no requirement for number of pages, in my experience its very difficult to give
the necessary amount of detail in under 5 pages.
2) Was every section covered?
3) How much depth? How imaginative? How articulate?
4) Extra points attributed for style. Does the paper go above and beyond the bare bones of
whats required?

For the text:

1) Did you mark all your spoken thoughts? Please use slash marks to indicate the beginning
and ending of each.
2) Did you mark all your triggers? Please circle (or otherwise indicate) the word, phrase, or
event that prompts your next spoken thought.
3) Did you indicate the number of trigger used? Please write number neatly (perhaps in a
circle) near the appropriate area. Remember to assign a trigger for EVERY spoken
4) Does it seem like a true investigation of text and not just randomly assigned?