As part of the last playwriting evening, we discussed characters. In particular, what makes some of the most famous theatre characters memorable. Those characters that tend to have a life outside the play. Examples include Blanche Dubois, a fictional character in Tennessee Williams' play A Streetcar Named Desire or Johnny "Rooster" Byron in Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth.
Matt Grinter's view is that what makes these characters larger than life is the following, they
- often enter the story later
- have mythological qualities
- span several traditional archetype
- represent the theme or world of the play
I suggested to Matt that wrapped up in the last one, could be another:
they represent that moment in time
I used the example of Gene Hunt of Life on Mars. The character stole the show, partly due to his turn of phrase:
- Gene Hunt. Your DCI. And it’s 1973. Almost dinner time. I’m having hoops.
- You know, if you were Pinocchio, you’d have just poked my eye out.
- He's got fingers in more pies than a leper on a cookery course.
I think he embodied not only 1-4 but also the moment in time. A time that was about to be lost. I'd suggest this impacted on his power as a character as they moved through the years as he was out of step.