Getting into character is only half the battle. If you can’t leave the character you play on the stage that character can cause all kinds of problems in your real life. If you have a hard time getting into character and then back out again this exercise is for you.
How to put on the Character Suit
- Imagine that you are walking down a street and the character you are wanting to play is walking towards you.
- Observe them in as much detail as possible.
- As you reach each other in your imagination you both stop greet each other as associates and shake hands.
- Pay attention to the weight and feel of the characters hands and how they shake your hand.
- Turn that imaginary character around so their back faces you and imagine that you see a zipper that stretches from the top of that characters head down to the bottom of their feet.
- Unzip the zipper to discover that the inside of that character is a clean empty suit that you can get into.
- Physically go through the actions of putting on that imaginary suit. Step into the suits feet, put your hands into the suits hands, and so on.
- Once you are in the suit zip it up like a wet suit.
- Take time to notice what it feels like to be in that body. Do the characters hands feel light, heavy, big, or small. What else can you notice about inhabiting that suit and how it feels to you.
- Once you are in that suit you are now that character.
- To exit the suit do this same process in reverse. At the end shake hands, say goodbye, watch them walk away, then walk away yourself.
Does this really work?
Try it and see. The real question you are probably asking though is “how does this work”? What this process does is communicate to our subconscious in its own language. It’s our subconscious that we have to convince to believe this imaginary world temporarily as an actor and also our subconscious that we need to convince when it is time to leave the character behind. It might feel silly or odd. It works for many people though letting them both get into character and back out of character. So, give it a try! Practice it and see if it becomes a helpful tool to you!