Book Chapter: How to be a Storyteller by Bringing Your Characters to Life.
Her Thoughts: As little girls, my sister and I had a favorite game: playing dress up. That was a tradition that continued until we were preteens and beyond. We never grew tired of donning various outfits from our parents’ discarded clothing and accessories stored in a large trunk in the basement.
I loved pretending to be someone else and was fascinated by the various components that helped me experiment in bringing a person to life. I’d create a mental scenario of who that individual. Were they rich, poor, smart, kind, mean, ugly or pretty? What did he or she do for a living? How did that person look and behave? What kind of walk and mannerisms did he or she have? I pondered most about what type of voice this individual could have: high and screechy, deep and booming, soft and gentile, creepy, scary, melodic, loving, or silly?
Halloween was always a favorite holiday because my birthday is at the end of October. All my birthday parties were costumed events. Our costumes were never store bought. They were either sewn by our mother or grandmother or fashioned from various clothing pieces, hats, shoes, ties, belts, pocketbooks, and jewelry found in the basement trunk. And with every homemade costume came a set of concocted character traits to complement the outfit.
My love of “trying on” different characters and pretending to be someone different than myself has been a lifelong passion and is, in part, why I became an actor. As an adult, I still love becoming someone else. In Theatre, when a character is crafted for a play or musical, costuming plays a vital part and aids the actor in getting into the role of that character. In storytelling, the rewards are even richer as we often portray more than one character in a story. Storytellers don’t stop in the middle of their story to don clothing pieces for each character being depicted. Rather, determining what each persona may look like, sound, move and gesture is a huge step in creating unique and distinct characters. It’s like playing dress up, without the costumes and accessories. For me, this is fun stuff and I hope you’ll agree!
Leeny Del Seamonds, Master Story Performer™, is an award-winning, internationally acclaimed performer of Latino, original and world tales spiced with mime, palpable characterizations, and love of people. A dedicated Teaching Artist with a BA in Theatre/Performing Arts (magna cum laude), Leeny encourages listeners to rejoice in cultural diversity, inviting them to share in her Cuban-American sense of humor and joy of performing. With passion, fire and wit, Leeny’s celebrated one-woman performances and renowned workshops headline events worldwide. See her website at www.LeenyDelSeamonds.com for more information.