G’s homework was: tell Rapunzel repeatedly as it would be told by each of the characters in the first person. He came back a week later and told me all the characters’ versions of the story.
These were G’s understandings following the assignment:
Not all the characters are aware of the entire plot. That was surprising to find out, although logical. It means I need to consider what they know, not what I know, when telling the parts they are involved in.
Telling from a character’s point of view, I felt I’m “getting under their skin” physically and emotionally; I felt my body influenced. For instance, Rapunzel’s biological mother – telling as her, I was searching for a voice and needed to find what body produces a voice that says what she says in the story, which feels what she feels.
Finding their physical position revealed their attitudes and some understandings that never occurred to me until that moment. Relating to the mother again – why was her child taken away? her husband struck a deal with the magician and it had to do with his wife’s craving for eating Rapunzel, we know that. Only when I told “as her” did I realize that she never protested. The story does not mention she ever desired to see her child again. That made me think. I tried to take her features, and bring them closer to a time and place I know. I retold her part as a woman in the now – which opened a new dimension for me. I know something about why things happened with her as they did.
Another thing I’ve learned has to do with the relationships between characters. They are all interdependent from the drama’s point of view, although we perceive them as individuals. They walk together, including the antagonists; they are inseparable in this tale.
Meaning, characters have characters for a reason. Don’t change their essence, it just doesn’t work; the tale becomes flat.
Do all these realizations go into the telling? Not necessarily. Nevertheless, they create density, which attracts the audience’s mind, which in its turn creates even more dimensions to a single tale and the reason to retell it repeatedly.