Week Two / Monday

In script analysis, we continued with the introduction to our textbook: Script Analysis for Actors, Directors, and Designers by James Thomas. We have a test on the introductory material (mainly terms and a bit of Aristotle’s Poetics) and our Professor (he told me I could call him, Russ, and I told him I’m going with ‘Professor’ if it’s okay with him–I told him, he earned it) has been doing a terrific job of covering the meaning behind the terms by not only giving us the text-book definition, but also by providing real-world examples. He makes references to a number of plays, Shakespeare predominantly, and I feel rather ignorant because frankly, I simply haven’t read a lot of plays. When I was a little kid, my Aunt had a collection of Shakespeare records (vinyl, the good old-school stuff) and they came with scripts. And I used to lie on her bed and listen to these things and read along with the scripts. I understood not one single word, but I adored my time with the bard anyway. For me, just the sound of the dialogue even though I did not understand it, was music.

Acting for Directors and Acting II have the following journal entries:

ACTING FOR DIRECTORS:

8/26/2013

Today, we shared our best and worst experiences
being directed as an actor. Our Professor added
comments and reiterated points which were informative
to our collection of actors and directors alike.
Things like, sometimes, it’s good for a Director,
when faced with a challenge from an actor who isn’t
quite making the magic happen, the director can say,
“Well, what would you do?” That way, the actor may free
himself, [be unlocked or permitted by the director] to
explore some other choices which not only may work for
the Director, but for which the actor can have some ownership.
It’s a win-win. Prior to this discussion, we did some warm-ups
and breathing exercises. This always sets an energetic, relaxed,
comfortable mood. Some of the stories focused on directors who
either didn’t direct, over-directed, or were simply disingenuous
and/or abusive to the actors…in short, directors who could not
inspire as a result of their ego, or other shortcomings. It seemed
that actors have a balance of both wanting input and direction and
at the same time, the freedom to be creators. My take from the day
is trust, acceptance of each others talents, and finding that special
balance that serve the work best.

ACTING II:

8/27/2013

In class today, we read our scripts developed from our “I Know” exercise. As I mentioned, my final choice was, “I Know I’m happy.” I was kind of blown away at two things: the quality of the monologues among my peers, and the fact that every single person wrote one. This is big-boy college (big-girl as well). At Santa Fe, where there may be students who take theatre as an adventure rather than as a ‘this-or-death’ choice, you often see students with the old, “the dog ate my monolouge’ or, ‘I didn’t have time’, or ‘we had a monologue due?’ Not here. Everybody that is here wants to be this thing…this ‘actor’. Professor Hamilton seemed duly impressed and specifically stated that we had all gone above and beyond the call of duty. Now, we are to refine our monologues, bring them in in under 2 minutes (mine was 3:30), and start to put them into our memory and make some performance choices. Here is the monologue now edited for Wednesday’s class:

I Know I’m Happy 2:00 minutes

by Tom Miller

Darling, are you there?

Remember when you asked me,

what do I know?

Here’s what I know.

I’m in some shit-hole bar

and there’s three

other guys in there with me. A couple

of young guys, probably college guys.

And then there was

this old drunk at the end of the bar, half asleep,

scraggy beard, dirty clothes, uh, smelled about a week into it.

I said, ‘look at all the TVs in this place.

Anybody come here to watch tv? (Pause for…no response)

I know I didn’t come here to get sober.’

I downed my shot of whiskey.

Burned just enough to let me know I was still alive.

‘i’d rather have a conversation than TV.

I mean, I like Judge Judy and all, but Jesus Christ…

three Judge Judys is about three too many. How ’bout you guys?’

The two college guys each have their faces

buried in their iPhones.

I…don’t…exist. And you’re really here, darling, are you.

So I light up an American Spirit to breathe a little

life into the room. You know, let ’em know I’m coming.

‘Would you mind not smoking that,’ one of the

dudes says to me. ‘…makes my shirt smell.”

I told him, ‘A shirt that ugly SHOULD smell.’

Vini, the bartender comes over. ‘Hey, Tom. Let it go,’ he says.

One of the guys puts a Lady Gaga song on the jukebox.

Now I got Judge Judy on three TVs and Lady Gaga on the box.

And I can’t even smoke a cigarette. What’s the world coming to?

‘You guys know who Janis Joplin is?” I asked ’em.

‘Who?’ one of the guys said.

‘Never mind,’ I said. ‘Look it up on your smart-phone sometime.’

Then the weirdest thing happened.

The old guy at the end of the bar…

Never says anything all night and suddenly…

He sits up on his stool and he says to the college guys,

‘why don’t you two douche-bags get the fuck out of here.’ [laugh]

And he said it with like this grizzled kind of voice

Sounded, uh, like a straight-razor trying to shave a sidewalk.

(Serious) Some kind of war thing. That’s what I heard in it, anyway.

And after a pause,

the two fellas just sort of…

got up out of there.

The Lady Gaga song finished. Vini

flipped off all the TVs. He poured me, him,

and the old fellow some half-way decent whiskey.

Not the top shelf…but not the bottom either.

Old guy raised up his glass, as did we all,

and then he said…

‘Here’s to shit’. (Long pause…)

There’s a way of looking at your life that’s good.

After that shot hit pay-dirt,

that’s when I knew without any doubt…

I was happy.

[Absolutely miserable face for the delivery of this last line. Or…the complete opposite.]

Tom: 47 Years Old – Barfly – Old-School Punk – Counting Down the Years – Works as a Dishwasher in a Fancy Restaurant where they Don’t Let the Staff have Any of the Food – He dresses in a T-Shirt and Jeans – Old Beat-Up Sneakers – Mussed Hair – 5-Day Gruff Beard – Almost Burned-Out Eyes, but not Quite – Likes: Conversations, Janis Joplin, Whiskey, Smoking, Folks who Do What They Say They Will. Dislikes: Smart Phones, TV, 97% of Politicians, and All but One Woman who doesn’t Want Anything to Do with Him. He is speaking to his Ex-Girlfriend, who is not in the room with him.

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