I do a performance art show each Monday called the Reverend Angeldust’s Tabernacle of Hedonism with your Host, Tom Miller. Look it up on Google. It’s pretty fun. This Monday, I’ll be arriving in character as Usetess P. Zeffirelli and will remain in character throughout the entire event, and probably after on the drive home. I’ll be debating my friend George O’Brien who will arrive in character as Dwon Dwon Jenkins, a janitor for NASA. These two super-sharp minds (they may both be mildly mentally challenged) will solve the eight unanswerable questions of philosophy in a head to head debate: Science vs. Religion. They may agree, they may disagree, they may fight it out, they may throw up. Just a taste of the kind of theatre I find myself in each and every day. But now, on to more academic things.
In Script Analysis, I received a 45 out of 50 on my Given Circumstances project. That’s just an ‘A’ I think. It would be a 90 out of 100 if the score was max 100, so I could have done better I guess, but I did well. Hey, it’s my first time. We learned more about plotting character graphs this week as to when characters enter and exit…something useful if you intend to double-cast a production to save money and streamline talent. And we did a review for the upcoming, I guess, mid-term? Anyway, we have an exam on Internal/External and Plot. Here are the blogs for the weekend:
Our journals are turned in now. We began class as normal with a Constructive Rest leading into development work. As we began walking around the room, we were instructed to pick out a word from our monologue and intuitively sound it out to feel it, to see how it affected our walking, our attitudes. Then another word…then another…we were moving backwards, sideways, bent hunched, ‘going into the floor’ and back, and at one point we were asked to become aware of each other and pick up the pace. I was astounded to notice how fluid everyone was as we moved between and around each other like a stimulated single particle, like whooshing atoms, no collisions, no second-guessing. I could say that something has observably changed, some dynamic, from day one and today. When we first attempted this, everyone was so uptight and awkward, a few bump-de-bumps here and there. Now we were as one and a thought came to me: “I know something special and unique about each and every person in the room”. At one point, I felt quite emotional…hard to describe, not a sadness, just a comfortable feeling of gratitude. One of those crying laughs. And this feeling came because as we ‘danced’ with each other in this exploration exercise, we were not judging or being judged, we were playing like children. To experience that feeling as an adult was a beautiful thing.
Driving in the car this afternoon, my brain said to my face, “What the heck are you doing.” And my face responded, “Yeah. What the heck AM I doing?” And then my squinted eyes relaxed, my cheeks relaxed, and it seems I was squinting in some driving habit/pattern and not because the sun was in my eyes or anything like that. I put on the ‘drive-squint’. I was happy that I noticed that and allowed my face permission to relax.
I talked to my face again today. I talked to my back, my neck. Even as I am typing at this very moment, I talked to my back and allowed a rather lazy slouchy position to adjust into a more natural and correct one. Now I’m taking a nice deep breath. Ah, that’s much better. NOTE: I simply am actively aware of my body and what it is doing than I was before the Alexander Technique. That is a measurable and effective result.
Sunday. Today, the mission is to complete the mid-term take-home exam. In other words, Sunday is Alexander day.
We continued with work-shopping monologues. Useful information coming from the critiques of the Professor included: Pay attention to punctuation in the script (one girl made a statement and came up at the end with her tone as if it was a question.) In particular, the point was made that sometimes, something that looks like a question is a statement. Statements with a period at the end but which begin with the word ‘why’. “Why don’t you just shut the hell up.” Statement. “Why don’t you just shut the hell up?” Question. Answer, “Because I like hearing myself talk.” Statement. “Because I like hearing myself talk?” Question. Relating tales of auditions, Professor Hamilton reminds us that much of what lands a job is outside the actual ‘scene’ or ‘monologue’ you are doing. How you interact with the interviewers, your smile, being easy to interact and work with, etc. Wise point.
ACTING FOR DIRECTORS:
We finished off the last of the scene re-dos today; a scene from Anastasia and one from Angels in America. Comments made which are beneficial for future use include: Make sure the body language is apropos for the time period, be realistic in your actions with props (one actor went to pour some ‘Champaign’ out of a bottle and poured an unrealistically tiny amount—nobody pours themselves a drop of Champaign!), listen to what is said [see what is seen] and then react (one actor was startled before the startling happened), maintain points of focus (don’t cheat out to the audience to see how you’re doing), and enunciate (one actor playing a grandmother used the word pronunciation ‘cunint’ instead of ‘couldn’t’.) The quote of the day went to Professor Young. He was addressing the actors and remarking about how to take a wide stance so people in the wing seats can see the actor. Some of our ‘audience’ were seated in such a way as to only see the backsides of the actors. Dr. Young said, “Some of you get the behind, but that’s the way life is.” I don’t know exactly why, but that struck me equally profound as it was funny.
# # #