I get to play three characters in this year’s A Christmas Carol, A Ghost Story of Christmas by Julian Wiles. Playing multiple characters is always fun and challenging and the important thing to do is keep them different. Costumes, wigs and makeup can help do this but the most important way to make them different is in your body language and voice. This is an important part of character development. For example:
The minister is an old man who moves and speaks slowly. Let’s give him a rounded back, a shuffled walk and a deliberate but shaky higher pitch voice.
Mr. Wiggins is Scrooge’s servant and his movements are quick and anxious. He physically bends to Scrooge’s level when in his presence. His voice is normal but shows a certain nervousness.
The Ghost of Christmas Present is a larger than life, confident and strong character. He is physically upright and energetic. His voice booms with purpose.
As you can see I am dealing with three characters that are vastly different from one another. By concentrating on the physical differences I can develop characters which communicate in completely different ways. Now add the costumes, wigs and makeup and hopefully the audience won’t know that the same actor is performing these three separate roles.