Memorization can be challenging for some and comes quickly to others. Whichever side of the fence a talent falls is irrelevant. The bottom line is that anyone can memorize words on a page – it’s making them come to life that makes the actor talented!
What are the actor’s responsibilities when it comes to character development? First, it’s the actor’s responsibility to research what they are given. There are some defined qualities in the script for every character. Identify the boundaries given. Is it just a physical description? Is there a family tree? In what relationships is this character involved? Where does he/she live?
Second, the actor is responsible for filling in the gaps by making strong (albeit, appropriate) choices. If the script doesn’t dictate the character’s childhood experiences, the actor must fill in that blank by creating a backstory. Green actors tend to be fearful of making strong choices, which gives them away in the casting room.
Breathing life into a character is a many layered event and each talent may approach doing so in their own way. At the end of the day, all talent end up in the same place – with a fully developed character. That developed character is who brings us to tears as the audience. It’s the same one who motivates us to take action and who helps us work through our own baggage. We relate to him/her. And in doing so, that character comes alive! As an actor, are you able to breath life into a new being?