Becoming Allan Masterson by Ron Dykes
Handed the challenge of developing the character Al, my first consideration was to establish his history, with significant events and emotional parameters. In essence, creating a life, Al’s life. All the factors that shaped his very being.
I needed to determine Al’s character traits and behavior patterns, especially given his current medical situation and beyond. Al is a man who has always been in control of the direction his life took, and quite unwilling to relinquish that control. But now, with this new diagnosis, all that is about to change. How has the news affected him? How will it continue to affect him? And what of his anguish at being estranged from his family? When the disease progresses, what would bring Al back to reality, if only for a short period of time?
Using the script, input from the directors, research into Alzheimer’s, and my own life experiences, I developed Al’ s lifetime scenario.
In addition, I determined “triggers” for Al. Words, images and situations that would release an emotional torrent needing expression (his diagnosis, estrangement from his family, snatches of reality, etc). His world has been turned upside-down, his existence threatened and his emotions laid bare.
Given all this, there were paths to be considered, ideas to contemplate, theories to formulate. All for Al, the man. Bringing Allan Masterson to life was an incredible experience, from beginning to end. One that will remain with me forever. Thank you Kyle Marra, Lief Thomason, et al.