Thursday, 30 May 2013

Typecasts

For anyone not familiar with theatre terms, a typecast is short for "typical cast", as in, a typical part for an actor. A part that an actor typically plays. Every actor has a typecast, some are blatantly obvious, like the ones I mentioned on Monday, some are more subtle. But since I posted that entry on Monday about typecasts and such, I've had a lot of readers ask me what my typecast is.

The funny thing about being in a Theatre Studies class is that you do a lot of improvisation and experimentation. When you work with an amateur theatre and do three or four shows a year, it can take quite a while for a typecast to come out.

And even longer with movies. If you did a movie a year, it would take a long time for a typecast to be established, like Jennifer Lawrence for example. She's really exploded into the Hollywood scene in the last year years, and even still she doesn't have a clear typecast.

But as I was saying, being in a class full of improvisation means that every five minutes is something new, and after just a couple of weeks, everyone in the class had established a very strong typecast.

After a couple of weeks, you could go around the room and describe the persona that each student automatically jumps to in an improvisation game. You could even accurately portray them and the whole class would know exactly who you were pretending to be.

There's Karl the creep, Ellie the stuck-up princess, Josh the sweet-talking charmer, Olivia the bogan, and more. Some even have two typecasts, Saranne for example is either a creature resembling Gollum from The Lord of the Rings, or a posh Brit.

As for my typecast? I'm the punching bag. I am the disposable one that is either killed off, seriously injured, or dumped. It started a few years ago in drama class. We did a Disney princess spin-off, where I was "Prince Charming". Except that I was fat and repulsive.

The Princess hated me, the audience hated me, and I was beaten in battle by a blind, crippled dragon with fairy wings. Someone decided it would be funny if a shoe was thrown at my head during the play from offstage.

That quickly became a running joke. Every exercise and game we played eventually involved a shoe being thrown at me from offstage.

But it didn't stop there. Sometimes it was more violent than that. It was very common for me to end up dead, often brutally murdered. Even more common was having my wife leave me, my girlfriend leave me, or being rejected after asking someone out.

For the life of me, I'll never know how, but that tradition continued throughout the years, including the shoe throwing act. But in the last four years of acting, I have been shot, stabbed, strangled, suffocated, drowned, burned, mauled, haunted, and tortured, all multiple times.

I've been through nuclear wars, zombie apocalypses, and my own funeral, and I've had my heart broken by women hundreds of times.

Earlier this year we were studying Greek theatre, which is rather morbid. We looked at one play in particular called Agamemnon, in which a king had been killed. We did a number of different excerpts from the play, in various different groups, outdoors, indoors, scripted, improvised, for several weeks.

Every single time... I was the dead king. There were a few instances where I was dead at the start of the performance and stayed dead the whole time.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. It could be much worse. But there you go. That's my typecast.

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