Ti-Jean Character Analysis

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Joe Pignotti
Theatre 120
Section 312
16 November, 2011
Ely Phan’s Devilish Character
What makes an effective actor in a musical or play? Is it his or her ability to sing and dance well? Does an elaborate costume alone make for an effective actor? More than anything else, an effective actor will completely embody the character he or she is cast to play. It is an actor’s job to bring their character to life and to make it believable for the audience. In the play Ti-Jean and His Brothers, Ely Phan is a female actress who plays a very dynamic character as the devil. Phan, as the devil, also plays the roles of Papa Bois and the plantation owner. She does an outstanding job throughout the play embodying each individual character through her acting choices. Ely Phan uses a strong, yet cunning voice and sneaky, graceful movements around the stage in order to effectively embody the character of the devil.

While analyzing whether or not Ely Phan makes a believable devil, it is important to analyze her use of voice throughout the play. When an ordinary person thinks of the devil, they think of a very cunning, persuasive, and powerful being. The actress in this show plays exactly this kind of devil. Phan, as the devilish plantation owner, is able to manipulate Gros Jean and Mi-Jean in the through her strong and cunning voice. In the scene with Gros Jean, the plantation owner begins to call Gros Jean many different names besides his real one, which enrages him. Noticing the increasing anger of Gros Jean, the plantation owner coolly continues until Gros Jean erupts with anger and is eaten by the devil. Even as the respectable Papa Bois, Phan speaks with wit and authority as an old man would, while also speaking with the devil’s sharpness of tongue. Phan’s ability to speak with such slyness, while at the same time keeping the strength in her voice, is impressive. Although her costume suggests she is the plantation owner or Papa Bois, Phan does an outstanding job of...
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