Let the haircut do the acting for you? Good advice. For the longest time I used to try and visualise what a character should look like when I was cast in a role. This approach would either have no obvious effect (much like a benign tumour) or screw me over entirely. For example:

I was once cast as Nerissa from The Merchant of Venice. It’s a pretty sweet role, not too lengthy but you get to kiss Gratiano (who in my case was very pretty). When trying to decide on who Nerissa was as a character, I got caught up in thinking about what she should look like. In the end I decided she was a petite blonde with brown eyes who tended towards plumpness and had an open, pretty face.

Ok, cool. But I look nothing like that.

This image I had of Nerissa managed to alienate me from the character; it felt like trying to play her outside of myself if that makes any sense. Plus, it doesn’t translate well to the audience if you try to play a character as a short blonde when you yourself are a tall brunette – I’m pretty sure it just looked like I had a weird stoop and a facial tic.

You look like you. So your character looks like you too. The implications of this are many but I won’t get into them right now because the guy on the computer next to me sounds like he’s trying to cough up a lung or something. I hear that’s a symptom of flu de la swine so I’m off to burn everything I’m wearing and bathe in Purell.