CHARACTER STUDY EXERCISE FOR ACTING STUDENTS

An outdoor session on “Character Study” was organized for students of AAFT School of Cinema. A group of more than 40 students visited Hanuman Temple and Connaught Place to analyze the behavior and activity of different people.

In this one-of-a-kind exercise, students had to spend a day with ordinary people such as fruit seller, beggar, cobbler, tea seller, policeman, security guard, etc. and had to make notes observing their body language and mannerisms, how they speak, treat their props and more.

First stage of this exercise involved picking a sample group, e.g., a group of cobblers, and then pick one of them to study further based on one’s observation. Second stage involved watching (without getting involved with them) and recording evidence of their body language, gestures, any specific habit, speech impediment (if any), the way that person handles his/her props, e.g., how a cobbler polishes shoes, how he holds a shoe in his hand, any secondary movement such as having a beedi or cigarette, etc.

The final stage involved the interview stage where students interacted with the subjects one-on-one and tried to find their respective back stories and how they got into this profession, etc. The objective of this exercise was to develop the performance skills individually, to consider ways in which ideas and feelings can be communicated to the audience and most importantly to develop sensitivity towards different characters.

Overall, the students enjoyed this outdoor activity and learnt a lot about human behavior and how props, costumes, mannerisms, etc. help in communication.