Jan 26 – 1971
Thank you for your very nice letter and your very generous praise regarding my portrayal of Festus. To try to summarize my approach to a character – upon reading the character’s function and involvement in a script, I try to figure every characteristic of the person – his general attitude towards life, his walk, his tastes, his manner of speech, his faults and his attributes.
My portrayal of Festus is quite simple for me, since I patterned him after several people I have known during my lifetime – you to, I’m sure have a well of memories to draw from – don’t hesitate to use them in building your character.
In my opinion it’s an actors duty to walk into the first rehearsal with a well defined character – then it’s up to the director to shade or change the character to fit into the overall picture or play.