Characterization is a process of conveying
informationabout characters in fictionor conversation. Characters are usually present by description and through their actions, speech, and thoughts.
=Characterization in Drama=In performance an
actorhas less time to characterize and so can risk the character coming across as underdeveloped. The great realists of dramaturgyhave relied heavily on implicit characterization which occupy the main body of their character driven plays. Examples of these playwrights are Henrik Ibsen, August Strindbergand Anton Chekhov. Such psychological epics as The Seagullindirectly characterize the protagonists so that the audienceis drawn into their inner turmoils as they are slowly revealed over the 3 hours of time spent with the characters. The actors taking on these roles must also characterize over a long period of time, to the point that there seems to be no direct statement of who the character is at any point, this realism in actingrequires the actor to characterize from their own personaas a starting point. The audience therefore does not recognize a realistic characterization immediately.
playwrightand actor also have the choice of direct characterization in a similar vein to the writer in literature. The presentation of a character for a sociological discussion only has to be as real as the discussion requires. In this way a character can be used as an iconic reference by a playwrightto suggest location, an epoch in history, or even draw in a political debate. The inclusion of a stock character, or in literary terms an archetypal character, by a playwrightcan risk drawing overly simplistic pictures of people and smack of stereotyping however the degree of success in direct characterization in order to swiftly get to the action varies from play to play and often according to the use the character is put to. In explicitly characterizing a certain character the actor makes a similar gamble. The choice of what aspects of a character are "demonstrated" by the actor to directly characterize is a political choice and makes a statement as to the ethics and agenda of the actor and the play as a whole. Examples of direct characterization are found in mimeespecially, and in Epic theater, yet also in the work of Steven Berkoff, The Wooster Group, and Complicit.
Both and explicit characterization in drama can result in a problematic, politically unstable character, even a
stereotype. And conversely both direct and indirect characterization can make complex and unique characters depending on the choices made by those doing the characterizing.
* [http://www.cas.usf.edu/lis/lis6585/class/litelem.html Outline on Literary Elements] by Dr. Marilyn H. Stauffer of the
University of South Florida
* [http://blog.wku.edu/podcasts/Waters_ENG200_DocLecture2.php Lecture about Fiction] by Professor Waters of the
Western Kentucky University, especially the [http://blog.wku.edu/podcasts/Waters_ENG200_Fiction.ppt accompanying PowerPoint presentation]
* [http://web.uvic.ca/wguide/Pages/LTCharacter.html Character and characterization] in [http://web.uvic.ca/wguide/Pages/LiteraryTermsIndex.html#AlphabetTop "The UVic Writer's Guide"] (from the
University of Victoria)
* [http://web.media.mit.edu/~bkort/Drama.html Drama Theory]
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