As stated before, characters are the driving force of a play. Without well designed and depicted characters, a play will certainly fall short. There are some types of characters we want to be intimately familiar with (so that they are 'cast' in our plays):
- Dynamic characters: characters that change through the events of the play or story.
- Round characters: characters that are fully developed. They often have contradictory traits. A wise chauffeur who is illiterate (Driving Miss Daisy), or a cranky old Jewish lady who has a heart of gold (Driving Miss Daisy), a bitter couple who actually love one another, despite their bickering (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf), a distraught mother who needs to convince her daughter not to kill herself ('Night Mother), etc. These characters are interesting because they possess contradictory or conflictual traits or qualities.
- Confidante: someone in whom a character can confide or speak his/her mind freely.
- Foil: a character who enhances a quality or trait of a major character or protagonist through contrast.
- Sympathetic character: a character with whom an audience can identify.
- Unsympathetic character: a character with whom an audience cannot identify. Usually this character has motives that are questionable, unappealing, or difficult to understand.
- Ally: a character who helps the protagonist accomplish, achieve, or learn something.
- Messenger/Herald: Usually a minor character, although not always--this character delivers an important message or brings some sort of external insight to the protagonist.
- Minor characters: stock characters, spear-carriers, static, flat, cardboard cut-out, stereotype, supporting, allegorical, etc.
- Know what role the character plays in your play/story.
- Use characterization: what a character says, what a character says about another character, actions, thoughts, or description. Description is best delivered through dialogue in plays. In fiction, it is delivered by description and imagery.
- Provide backstory through flashbacks (fiction), or monologues (plays)
As you watch the film based on the play, examine the characters:
- Alan Raleigh
- Annette Raleigh
- Michael Novak
- Veronica Novak
- Identify and explain each character's "role" (see above)
- How do they shift or balance or grow or conflict?
- Which are protagonists or antagonists and when does this role shift in the play/film?