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“Who am I?” seems like an obvious question, but the answers it generates are vital for fleshing out a truthful performance. It’s a question that should be asked many times as an actor, but at least three every time you take on a new role.” –Backstage, Robert Peterpaul

Asking “Who am I?”

As actors, we constantly dive into the depths of human emotions, exploring the multifaceted nature of our characters and their stories. But amidst the intricate tapestry of roles we embody, there is one fundamental question that anchors our performances: “Who am I?” This seemingly simple inquiry holds the key to unlocking our true potential as artists and understanding the transformative power of the craft. Join me on this journey of self-discovery as we delve into the various layers that shape our identity as actors and the characters we bring to life.

  1. Who am I as a person: Before stepping into the shoes of a character, it’s essential to understand our own essence as individuals. Embrace self-reflection and introspection to uncover your unique qualities, experiences, and perspectives. What drives you? What are your values? What makes you tick? Embracing your authentic self lays the foundation for creating honest and compelling performances.
  2. Who am I as the character: Once we grasp our own identity, we can embark on the thrilling exploration of becoming someone else. Immerse yourself in the character’s world, delving into their backstory, motivations, and desires. Investigate their fears, hopes, and dreams. Understand their flaws and vulnerabilities. By fully embodying the character, we breathe life into their existence, bringing truth and depth to every portrayal.
  3. Who am I at the beginning of the scene: Every scene is a microcosm of growth and transformation. Begin by understanding where your character stands at the scene’s onset. What emotional state are they in? What has happened to them leading up to this moment? Allow yourself to tap into their emotional landscape, connecting with their thoughts and feelings, and laying the groundwork for their journey.
  4. Who am I at the end of the scene: As the scene progresses, our characters evolve, facing obstacles and experiencing shifts in their emotional terrain. Take note of the changes your character undergoes, both internally and externally. How do their experiences and interactions shape them? What emotional arcs do they traverse? Embrace the nuances and subtleties of their transformation, capturing the essence of their growth.

By continually asking ourselves this important question…

…in different contexts throughout the acting process, we cultivate a deep understanding of our characters and the stories we portray. This introspective journey enables us to peel back the layers, exposing the raw, authentic truths that resonate with audiences. As actors, we have the power to connect, inspire, and evoke profound emotions. So, let us embrace the question, “Who am I?” as an invitation to explore the vast possibilities within ourselves and our characters. Through self-discovery and artistic exploration, we can uncover the extraordinary depths of our craft and create performances that leave an indelible mark on the world.

Discover your truth, embrace the transformative power of storytelling, and let your light shine on and off the stage.

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