An actor must know how to create an authentic character in order to be believable onstage. Here are some tips for creating a character that the audience will believe and relate to:
It is important to know that when you are acting you are playing another character, not yourself. The first question you must ask yourself is not how you would react to a situation; it is how the character would act in their circumstance.
Ask yourself who your character is. Where is he/she from? How old? What nationality/culture? Which socio-economic class did he/she grow up in? What does the character do for a living? How much education did he/she receive? What sexuality is he/she? The more specific questions you ask about the character, the more real you will start to imagine this make-believe person. Remember that you are essentially birthing a real person when you are creating a character. Just like in real life, a person’s identity has a great deal to do with their past and where they came from.
The location of the character is going to greatly affect how he/she behaves in a given situation. Is the character in a foreign land from where he/she grew up? Is the character in a private room or in a public place? Is the character afraid of someone eavesdropping on the conversation? Does the character trust the people around him/her? You must always keep the location in the back of your mind!
Once you have asked yourself as many specific questions as you can, let the character affect your whole body during rehearsal. Think about how the character would walk. How he/she would grab a glass from the cupboard. Imagine how the character would use silverware at the dinner table. A good method for getting physical characteristics down is to study people in public. Notice the difference between how a cop moves as opposed to a grocery clerk or a barista. Listen to interviews to study people’s accent (regional or national). A solid actor knows how to play a character from head to toe.