How to Build Chemistry on Stage

Have you ever been to the movies and seen a particularly convincing performance with two actors? Maybe it was a love scene, maybe it was an argument or even a physical fight—no matter what it was, certainly had you taken away and completely captivated. It was like the relationship was real. The actors had chemistry.

Chemistry, or the connection among actors on stage, is a necessary part of building a convincing story and a successful performance. Without chemistry plays would fall flat—after all, one of the reasons people come to see theatre is to be taken out of their every day life and look into the lives of others.

In Pazzi Lazzi, although we are only three people, it can be easy to forget to create a new chemistry for each set of relationships. The energy and time put into creating the greed-focused relationship between two vecchi cannot be reused for creating a romantic relationship, like the one between Pulcinella and Colombina.

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Chemistry begins with trust, respect and an understanding of each scene as well as an understanding of the overall story. To create convincing relationships for each set of characters, time must be put in outside of rehearsal to get to know each other. In Pazzi Lazzi, we often find that the best way to forge a new set of relationships is to spend time together outside of rehearsal. Some of the activities we do include going to friend’s concerts, writing new scenarios or just getting together for a cup of coffee. When you spend time with your theatrical colleagues outside of rehearsal, you learn new and interesting things about them that can easily be applied to your scenario.

Here are some discussion questions for building new character relationships.

  • What does my character want from your character and why?
  • How long have these two characters known each other?
  • Is my character older/younger than yours?
  • What is the history of our characters?

Once the foundation of our character’s history has been determined, we continue the discussion with more probing questions. We can simply choose to dive in more deeply to any of the questions above or we can select some of the questions below:

  • If your character did want something from my character, what was it? Did he/she get it? Are there leftover feelings?
  • Did something in the past happen to these two characters? Who was involved? What was the result?
  • How do these characters feel about each other’s families?

Spend some time discussing the answers to these questions and write down the answers. Part of the fun of doing theatre is that you learn new and interesting things about your colleagues! These gems can contribute to new bits on stage and enhance a performance.

Do you find these tips useful? Comment below and share your opinion! Happy New Year!

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