Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Liar Liar

Interesting exercise in class tonight.

To help us develop our showcase characters, we were asked to walk the streets of downtown San Diego for an hour in character - doings things our characters might do, going places they might go, sayings things they might say, etc. Doing so would help us discover who this person really is and thereby create a more believable performance. We would then report back and reveal to the class what invaluable knowledge we gained about our character as a result of the exercise. Easy enough, right?

My character, Blake, is a womanizer, so I initially figured I'd go to various Gaslamp bars and prey on as many women as possible. However, I realized the thing that confounds me most about Blake is that he is a compulsive liar who manufactures stories to dupe women into loving him. He is such an amazing liar, in fact, that he even convinces himself that his lies are actually the truth. Personally, I am not a great liar by any means, so I decided that this was the quality of my character that I most needed to explore... and I decided to turn the exercise on it's head. And what better way to test one's ability to lie than to make a room full of actors believe every word of a completely fabricated story? For me, the real exercize began when I returned to class...

I spent my hour at Hooters drinking a couple beers, watching the Lakers and tieing for first in a trivia contest. I used this as the backbone for my tall tale and fleshed out the rest with my imagination. It was an elaborate tale that involved winning a beer-chugging contest and charming the pants off a beautiful brunette bartender so much that she gave me her phone number (which I showed to the class). I told the story to the class in the same manner that I imagined Blake would tell one of his two girlfriends the story of why he can only see her three days out of the week. While sitting at the bar I went over the story so many times in my mind that I practically convinced myself that it was true. I imagine this is what compulsive liars do.

The class lapped it up. Believed every minute detail I created.

Exercise: successful.