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Drama and Acting

What are the given circumstances?


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October 02, 2012 6:43PM

The given circumstances in acting are what the author or playwright have given you as an actor to work with in terms of where you are, who you are, what you are doing, and why you are doing it. For example, your character profile at the beginning of the play (where they list the characters) will tell you something about your character. In "The beauty queen of leenane" by martin McDonagh, there is quite extensive character notes. These character notes are your Characters "Given circumstances." The setting, an old cottage in county leenane are your given circumstances for WHERE you ARE. Sometimes, however, the playwright may give you no in-depth information about your character, as in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, where all he gives in the character section is "Estragon, a tramp." All you know is that Estragon is a tramp. However, throughout the play, you find out pieces of history, and this is another source of GIVEN CIRCUMSTANCES. As either Stanislavsky or Strasberg once said ( I don't have my notebook on me this instant) "sometimes the inspiration for your character may not be obvious, but hidden within the line of someone else's character"

Simply put, the given circumstances are whatever you are given to work with, be it pieces of history, emotion, costumes, settings, character relationships.