I used my main character basis on the stereotypical archetype character’s of heroines and protagonists in many children’s stories, television shows, and traditional fairy stories like little red riding hood and Disney adaptations such as Brave and Tangled where the female characters are portrayed as a strong willed leading character. I took a lot of inspiration from the children’ cartoon ‘Lazy Town’ where the main girl, Stephanie is the driving force behind saving the day and making things right it the town and always stays optimistic and enthused. I took it upon myself to watch several episodes so I could observe the character traits of Stephanie in the show, as interestingly she is one of the only part in the tv show played by an actual actor instead of being animated. I found this really interesting and relevant to the development of my character of Isabella, as when devising the play I specifically stated that I wanted all the other characters to seem quite cartoon like but for Isabella to feel slightly more real and ‘normal’ so that she would be relatable for the children in the audience but also emphasise the animated nature of the Evil Shape Collector, Morgan and Sherlock. Although, visually I chose not to base my character Isabella on Stephanie as I thought her look as too bright and bold for our particular show and wanted her to look more normal and like any little girl, as it wold make the story feel more real and relatable for the audience. Nevertheless, I still felt the essence of the characters optimism, bright attitude and drive to be a hero and make others happy was carried through to my final portrayal of Isabella.
Evil Shape Collector
Although I obviously wasn’t playing the part of The Evil Shape Collector, I still had to work hard and focus on developing the other characters when writing the script and coming up with the concept prior to the actual rehearsal process. When devising the character of the Evil shape collector I had the vision of the kind of villain often seen in cartoons and pantomime’s where they aren’t necessarily a ‘bad’ person but juts crave power or feel the need to be bad to be noticed and aren’t always very good at what they do which usually results in the failing at their evil schemes anyway. There were many pre existing tv shows that incorporate these kind of characters and I felt that this was a good approach as it also avoided the risk of scaring the children watching or give them any ideas that being bad is an aspirational thing as it portray them in a light where we usually feel sorry for them. When helping Josh develop his character I gave him the suggestion of Robbie Rotten who also appears in the children’s cartoon ‘Lazy Town’. I felt that the character suited the idea I had for the ESC in the way he was very caricature like and overly animated. I posted videos on the groups Facebook page to share my ideas with Josh and the rest of the group.
When working with Josh during the process we focused on finding a voice that would work for the character but also not be too scary or loud, as at times he did get carried away and instead of the character coming across as silly he became slightly overbearing. This seemed most obvious when the ESC had the lists of insults, which were originally supposed to be because the character was too stupid to think of anything more, however in Josh’s enthusiasm his volume often came across as angry and aggressive. However, throughout the rehearsal process we worked on softening his tone and making it slightly more playful.
We actually ended up taking inspiration from the appearance of Robbie Rotten for the ESC’s make up and costume, particularly the stripes and the slicked hair and thick eyebrows.
These are the Diary entries I made at the beginning of the devising process that explore my character ideas and inspirations: