Abstract - Lisa Anderson

This paper provides an in depth analysis of the actor’s process as it applies to the creation of the character April White in John Patrick Shanley’s Savage in LimboSavage in Limbo is set in the Bronx in the early 1980s and is a play about five people struggling to find their place and purpose in a seemingly dismal and hopeless world.

Prior to the beginning of the rehearsal process extensive historical research was conducted on the Bronx in the 1980s (the period when the play takes place) and the 1950’s and 1960’s (when the character April would have been growing up). The economic, political, social and religious contexts in which the character was raised were investigated. Research revealed that the Bronx in the 1980s was severely affected by financial and social turmoil. These findings contributed to the characterization of April as a timid individual with a hesitant physical demeanor. 

The technical skills developed over the course of my training in the BFA Acting program in the areas of voice, speech, and movement were applied to the characterization of April. These included intensive voice training in the Chuck Jones and Catherine Fitzmaurice techniques, physical training in Laban and Kundalilini Yoga, as well as exploring the relationships between April and the other characters with my fellow actors, and examining my personal experiences to enhance my understanding of April’s character.


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