Nov 26, 2008


Each of the case studies I've investigated is guided by a set of research questions specific to that telenovela and its context. There are also recurrent questions that pop up in every study. As I go through each telenovela, interview, analysis and observation, I get closer to the answer, but these recurrent questions are so complex and nuanced that I never find THE final answer.

One of these questions is: Who does a character belong to?
a. To the writer who conceived it
b. To the writer who writes it day in and day out
c. To the actor who personifies it
d. To the audience
e. To all of the above

I've learned that all these options are correct at one point or another in the lifetime of a character, from its conception in a writer's mind to the appearance of The End on the television screen. At first, the character belongs exclusively to the writer. Then a co-production stage begins between the writer and the actor. At the beginning of this stage, the actor interprets the script much in the same way as a musician interprets a score. But, soon the nature of this co-production changes and the character becomes a sweater knitted in tandem by the writer and the actor, each of them holding one of the knitting needles.

There are other elements that contribute to the construction of the character: direction, wardrobe, makeup and music, among others. When the telenovela is finally broadcast, the audience's reading often modifies both the writing and acting involved in the character. In the end, if the character works correctly, it belongs to all. At the same time, we can also say that it belongs to no one because it has acquired a life of its own.

What do you think? Who does a character belong to?

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