Trick or Treat

by | Oct 22, 2021 | Acting Tips

Let your Inner Cast come out to play!
Tool from “Awakening the Actor Within” 


As we advance toward Halloween, we feel our spirits begin to awaken like peacocks or showgirls parading for the world to see. As we prepare for those costume parties, haunted houses and even trick or treating, we feel the naughty side of our souls kick in. As we pick out colorful wardrobes and try on outragous wigs, some playful pieces of us come out of hiding. We reveal particles of ourselves. We share with the world characters that we hide during our day to day lives.




I enjoy watching the transformation of people during this time, as actors showcase their “inner cast” in full glory.  Whether it’s a vampire, a nurse, a cowboy, a filmmaker or a hooker, the reins of our imaginations take hold.  This is a fun time to explore your “Inner cast” members and give them a name, a wardrobe and determine what role they play in your life. I remember an acting teacher once said, “Happy Halloweenie, your costume is the REAL you!” Well, that was funny because I was dressed in Oliivia Newton-John drag. HA! Little did I know I would one day play, Bette Davis, Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, Karen Carpenter and Bette Midler in the drag shows I created “Legends and Bridge” & “Divanalysis.”  I even played the transgender Joanne in “Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.” This was strange to me as that teacher was right. I did dress up and play larger than life women. LOL







But this exercise of finding your “Inner Cast” is more than mere “dress up.” The exercise of defining your cast of internal characters can help you find out “who is running the show” and “who you need to LET run the show!” They are archetypes of your creative spirit. Part of your own mythic journey in the movie of your life. Or theater of your life. It’s unmasking them that is sometimes the sticking point.




We are afraid of 2 things: 1) owning our power and 2) being the “bad guy.”



I have 2 conflicting characters who dwell in me: one is “Orphan Boy” (a sensitive weakling like Oliver Twist) and the other is “Dude” (a ruthless, Hollywood A-hole type). And the two of them often put up a fight as to how my show is run.  Orphan Boy tends to wish to run and hide, while Dude wants to put everyone down and stab them in the back.  But I usually fall somewhere in the middle as I negotiate between these opposing fellas.




Everyone has these types of characters and everything in between!  They can help us in our lives and in our acting!  We can adopt a personae around them. They can help us confront the bully. They can help us bolster our sagging depressed energies by adopting some personality.  The most important element is to have FUN with them. Create with them.




Your inner cast members can also be used at those quick auditions as you can easliy adopt one of them instead of creating a full characctrer from scratch.  Or you can create a character based around one of them and use the “I remember…” writing exercise to create a one person show or Tik Tock videos.




So, Name YOURS.




Task: Name 5 “inner cast” and give them a wardrobe.
How do the help you? How do they hamper you?




Task: Dress up as one of your “Inner Cast”
Task: Make paper dolls based on your “Inner Cast”

Task: Do the following monologue as one of your “Inner Cast”  

“I Want”
Acting Practice Monologue

(The NOUN to be filled in will be the character you are playing: mother, brother, waitress, director, student, priest, etc.)

I don’t know why you expect so much. What more do you want? What else can I do? I’m here. I’m here with you. What else can I do that I’m not doing? What is it? I can’t make it out. You don’t tell me yet—you want. You want. But I don’t know what it is that you want. What is it? Do you want it? Do you? You don’t know what it is I’m talking about, do you? You don’t, do you? And yet you sit there and you want, you want, you want. And I stand here, and I don’t know what it is that you want. I stand here, don’t I? At least I’m here. I’m here with you. Look? See? Your (FILL IN NOUN) is here.

Right here, see? Two arms, two legs, and only one head just like everybody else. Yet you want. I feel that tug in you. Where do you want me? What do you want of me? Backward and forward, you want!
That’s what you wanted? That’s all you wanted. Cry? That’s too easy. You can’t get out of it that way. It’s another trick to get me off track. I’m going to find out if it takes me the rest of my life. I’m going to find out what it is you want. Do you hear me? I’m going to find out if it takes me the rest of my life, the rest of my life.





Stephen Foster

Stephen Foster

Author of "Awakening the Actor Within"


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