An Actor’s Perspective: How Character Analysis brings a Performance to Life

Issue 24: February 14, 2024

Over the weekend, McMurry Theatre concluded its riveting production of The Crucible. This tragic and twisted tale unfolded on the Ryan Little stage, demanding dedication and intensity from every performer involved. While the curtains may have closed, the spirit of the characters live on through the pages of the script and in the souls of the actors who played them. Aby Brown, a junior at McMurry University, offers valuable insights into her character and emphasizes the significance of character analysis in enhancing performance and direction.

Brown assumed the role of Abigail Williams, a young girl who turns the whole of Salem upside down. She shares that this experience was immensely fulfilling and served as a chance for her to play her dream role. Although, she admits that it was just as hard as it was rewarding, stating, “the hardest part was bringing something original. So many talented actresses have taken on the part and brought so much personality to her, I wanted to take inspiration from them but also give her my own flare and uniqueness.”

Brown shares that the primary way she achieved this independence was through character analysis. She says, “Character analysis lets you peel back the layers of a character. It allows you to know what they’re thinking, why they’re thinking that, how they move, how they speak, and what has happened to them before the actions of the play to make them the way that they are.” It is a crucial element of acting; something that will only enrich and ease the process of individuality in performance.

Through character analysis, actors have the opportunity to delve into their character on a personal level. The play is already written; the major actions and plot points already scripted. However, it is the exploration of motivations, desires, and past experiences that truly bring the character to life. Brown says that she had to observe herself in Abigail in order to understand Abigail’s own motives. Stating, “I put a lot of my own metal strength into Abigail… I’ve had to find that strength myself, and I think having the experience of life not always being easy, it was easy to bring that power and humanity to her.”

Character analysis elevates a performance by filling it with individuality, understanding, and complexity. This enriches the audience’s experience, offering them a deeper and more personal view of the story unfolding before them. At McMurry University, this skill is thoughtfully blended into theatre curriculum, ensuring students graduate equipped to integrate it into their future theatrical pursuits.

If you missed The Crucibles debut, don’t fret, there are more opportunities this semester to see the great work of our students! Comedy of Errors comes to our stage in April, so keep a look out!