For this production, researching and developing my character presented a decent sized challenge for me. Not because Robin Starveling is necessarily a very large and complex role, but because it is the exact opposite.
Other characters in the show such as the lovers, Puck, Titania and Oberon have been portrayed multiple times in a generally similar manner. It is very easy and accessible to locate a detailed character description or analysis online for them, whereas for the smaller roles such as the fairies or some of the Mechanicals like Starveling, the descriptions are more difficult to find.
Because of this, I had to come up with how to portray the role more so on my own.
I looked up several YouTube videos of scenes that Starveling was in with the mechanicals, as well as reading the descriptions that I could find about Starveling. Not only did I figure out how to portray the role by reading about it and watching it in various versions, but by also reacting to the other actors portraying the Mechanicals.
One day, we all talked about about our characters and how we wanted them to fit into the group. This helped to establish a dynamic within our tightly knit group and solidify how we portrayed the characters.
I decided to portray Starveling as one of the more level-headed members of the group since some of the lines suggested it, especially in the one saying, “I believe we must leave the killing out when all is done.” This shows the common sense in which Robin offers to the group.
Starveling is also supposed to be one of the comical characters in the show, especially during the play within the play in the last act. Another challenge presented in playing this role was the fact that Starveling is usually played by a man.
Since I am a woman playing a guy’s role amongst a friend group of all guys, I had to make sure Starveling still “fit in” with the boys.