For the past two and a half ueats, I have found myself regularly involved in at least one game of Dungeons and Dragons, as I believe I may have mentioned. Tonight, I found myself involved in another roleplay game, which was equally (if not slightly more) enjoyable. It always helps to surround yourself with good friends when role-playing, people you’re comfortable with, but over the years, I have realized how beneficial these types of games can be for actor’s and writers and storytellers of all varieties.
First, the characters. In roleplay, you must learn to ad lib and adapt. To what your character is like. To what the other characters are like. To what is being said or done or kept secret. This is very important for storytellers to note: the different ways characters react to the situations in their lives, what makes them human, what makes them tick, how they I tract with the others around them. It’s very eye-opening.
Secondly, the plot. With roleplay games, often times parts of the plot fall on the shoulders of the players to decide. You decide how you react and what your action is, which in turn affects the rest of the story as it unfolds. It’s important to keep an eye on these things, what builds the story, what pieces come together to create this world and this particular story within that world. Having an understanding of what plot points make sense and work best for the story will allow you to unfold the best possible version of your story.
Thirdly, the experimentation. In roleplay, you get to experiment with different characters to figure out what makes them tick and what separates them from the crowd. Maybe they always wear a blue shirt because in third grade, they won a race while wearing a blue shirt so blue became their lucky color. Or maybe they treat men coldly because their father treated them horribly. Maybe they went off the rails because they witnessed a friend’s death. Or maybe they try to keep optimistic for the sake of others because they don’t believe themselves worthy of the good news. Roleplay opens up a whole new world in which you can let yourself go and experiment with whatever you want.
As an actor, it’s also beneficial (particularly when done in person) because you assume a character. You aren’t playing yourself, you’re playing someone else like with any role. It also helps with ad lib skull, which can be hard to build. Depending on the character, you may assume an accent, which would help you to practice an accent you don’t naturally have. Honestly, when you think about it, roleplay is pretty much the perfect game for any actor. You’re putting yourself in someone else’s shoes in imaginary situations and you have to react truthfully the way this character would. It’s the perfect exercise.
Overall, I obviously enjoy these roleplay games otherwise I would have stopped playing them a long time ago, but that doesn’t mean that I can glean something from them. Every day I play, I learn a little bit of something new. Isn’t that how life works best?