Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Where do character names come from?

I joined this blog discussion here, where a playwright/blogger was asking the universe how people come up with names for their characters.

Sometimes a name will spring into my head as soon as a character starts talking to me.  But here are some of my sources for inspiration when that doesn't happen.

Character names are super important to me, and I always try to get them set before I even start in with the serious writing of the play. What a John might say is so different from what a guy named Patton or a guy named Francis or a guy named Sue might say!
One thing that has helped me is the profusion of baby name sites on the web. Not just American ones, either! Is your character Cambodian? Chinese American? Bolivian? Just google baby names and the country of choice, and you'll get all kinds of possibilities.
Another nice tool I found somewhere online was a government site that listed common-ness of names by birth year. So if your grandmother character was born in 1938, you can see what names she might have had, statistically speaking. More likely a Delores than a Brittney!  Very helpful!
I’ve also been known to skim whatever books I’m near and use various combinations of authors names in a pinch.
How do you name your characters?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A real nice clambake over at Reprise

Check out the beautiful, slightly minimalist production of Carousel over at Reprise.  I thought it was gorgeous.  The only problem was, I'd forgotten what a sad musical it is, and had to wipe my eyes on my sleeve by the end.  It's directed by Michael Michetti, who is co-artistic director of the Theater @ Boston Court in Pasadena.

Kyle T. Wilson blogs about bobrauschenbergamerica

I've found myself increasingly interested in Robert Rauschenberg's work over the last few years, and am excited to see Charles Mee's play about him (and a lot of other things) at [Inside] the Ford, produced by TheSpyAnts as part of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission's wonderful Winter Partnership Program.

I've bought my ticket, but got a preview of coming attractions from playwright Kyle T. Wilson on his blog.  It's a great post about the play, and what brought him to it.

I can't wait to go see it!