Sunday, June 27, 2010

DAY 13

Today in Greg's Improvisation class we played a new game in which one person volunteers and sits in a chair in front of the rest of the class to show the life story of their character. The thing is, they have no idea who their character is, and it is up to the rest of the class to jump up and start doing a scene, in no chronological order, from any point of their life, giving the person clues as to who their character is. One person jumps up and starts talking about their life in the retirement home, another person gets up and asks them to prom, another person starts asking them for milk and cookies, and it becomes apparent what the relationships are in a matter of seconds: Grandma, girlfriend, mommy. The only time it didn't go well was when someone would jump up and start a scene without giving the person enough information about who they were or what the situation was.

In Hal's class we began to move on from imaginary centers toward the imaginary life of a character. This work is all about the imagination, and how you would imagine your character, when you see them in your mind's eye, walking, sitting, or gesturing. The physical posture of the actor/character affects us so much, even subconsciously. Hal had us say the simple line "What's the matter with me?" not with any particular character in mind, but in five different sitting positions. It was amazing how different the line delivery was in each position, without any motivation or circumstances dictating it. The difference between saying it with the head lowered versus arms extended up was the most dramatic and most interesting.

I got to work on my new monologue from All's Well That Ends Well in Hisa's Shakespeare class. It's funny how sometimes obvious things can be overlooked when you are working on just a monologue instead of the whole scene or play: I was so focused on what I was saying in the monologue that I completely neglected the relationship to the person I was saying it to- in this case, Bertram's mother. The monologue is more about Helena's relationship to her than it is describing Helena's love for Bertram. Which, now that it's been pointed out to me, is beyond obvious, but I had not even really considered it before. My new challenge, now that I've exchanged my own clipped way of speaking for a more drawn out vocal release for Shakespeare is to keep "fresh minting" each idea when it changes, shifts, or gets bigger. Hisa has such a great way of describing how each character needs this heightened language. My favorite quote from class today: "In this world, all we have is language. And occasionally poison and daggers."

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