Movement in Metamorphosis: Lessons to Keep

Yael P. Class of 2012
As I look forward to the exciting date of our departure for Scotland, I’d like to take a look back at the way creating the production of The Metamorphosis helped me grow as an actor. There have been many aspects of this show that have taught me big lessons, such as the intense ensemble-icity of the show, the work we did on fundraising and advertising, and the process of working together to adapt Kafka’s work into our own. 

But when I take a look at it retrospectively, the lesson that sticks out to me the most is that of how to build a character with physicality – using movement and posture in acting. A few weeks into rehearsals, we were lucky enough to have movement artist Rami Margron from SF theater group Word for Word come in to work with us on our characters. In that workshop, we learned about different ways of giving characters physical traits that I had barely ever considered. For example, would our character move in a “curvy” or “straight” way? Would they lead with a certain body part when they walked? 

Being exposed to these new options helped me realize all of the ways that I could further advance the development of my own characters, and as the rehearsal process continued, I was able to get more experimental with my physicality onstage. Learning about all of this was particularly relevant for me, as my character, the “action” part of the bug, was highly physical.

However, this method of making character choices with physicality was not only applicable to the bug- it also helped me develop who my Warsaw Ghetto character was as a person. I was able to go beyond the limitations of viewing my character just according her lines, and on to what it would be like to be inside her mind and body.

In all, the lessons I learned about character development through movement and stance are valuable ones that I will take with me to all of the theater I do in the future. I learned that a character doesn’t necessarily need to have some exaggerated physical trait unique to them, but that it is important when developing a character to think about their body and what it would be like to inhabit it.
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