Photo Courtesy of the Reverend Angeldust’s Tabernacle of Hedonism with your Host, Tom Miller
Script analysis: Spent the day talking about the play, Miss Whiterspoon. I’m kind of excited to see my grade for that paper. Other than some mismatched tenses, I think I did a respectable job. I was surprised to see how many people went down the critical road. Sure, the play had flaws but I rather liked it and was thoroughly entertained. My fellow students, they have some sharp eyes. They found some transitions tacky, they didn’t like some of the sound effects which they claim got in the way of the actor delivering his lines, they ripped on the abstract projections, it was a pile-on. However, they all made good points. Mostly, it seemed they wanted less to think about and more to see (a concept I often am in opposition to). I like the space between notes, the silence between sounds, and I’ll want (as a director) to hold a stage picture about thirty seconds longer than anyone else to allow a different perspective to come into view in the minds of the audience. But hey, that’s just me. This is why if I’m on a desert island with J.J. Abrams or Werner Herzog, Werner and I eat J.J. for lunch.
Here are the journal entries:
Today we presented our monologue for a grade. The class as a whole was much improved, some were stunning—the result of applying the Professor’s suggestions and Stanislavski’s approach. For myself, I thought I thoroughly sucked. I misarranged words, was entirely self-conscious, nervous, my arms were doing a stupid swing thing which I became conscious of during the piece, oh God, it was awful. And here’s the rub. This is both the thing I hate AND love about theatre: You can work at it all your life and have those days where you suck. And this: After it was over, a couple fellow students came up and said essentially, “Oh my God that was so good. So much better, I really liked what you did with the changes.” I think it might have been David Mamet who said something to the effect of don’t bother ever saying or thinking anything about your performance. He talks about audiences ‘getting’ performances and appreciating them regardless of the actor, the method, etc. He posits that if the words of a good script are said clearly, the play will carry itself. I disagree with many of his ideas (more about that later) however, once you have performed the piece, it is no longer up to you to shape the experience for someone else. You do not tell your audience, your audience tells you. In short, what I am saying is, I was awesome!
ACTING FOR DIRECTORS:
Today in class, we began ‘Director Reports’. Our job [actors] is to listen carefully to presentations about each director, write down the two most important facts about a director, and then to constructively critique the actual presentation of the person presenting the report. So these next few entries will be those points. Also, I am still waiting on my ‘classical’ monologue for the next part of the class. Now that I’m not a possible gay serial killer, I’ll be some character in Shakespeare or something. That will be exciting, but I sure wish my new Director will come up with the monologue so I can get it in my brain. Here are the comments:
#1. Ann Bogart – by Veronica
- Artistic Director for the Siti Company / Columbia Professor
- Known for “The Viewpoints” book – method for thinking and acting about moving and gesture.
PRESENTATION: Research and details were thorough and good. The presentation would benefit from a few dry rehearsals so as to appear, and be, more familiar with the material. Wise to ‘unglue’ oneself from the page.
#2. Carol Clurman – by Taryn (1930s, Broadway)
- Began as an actor.
- Believed theatre had a social/moral responsibility.
- Proponent of Realism.
- Believed in inspiring design and production crew rather than directing specifics. She wished for collaborative creativity.
- Strong believer in the importance of table work.
PRESENTATION: Very good and appealing, especially when elaborating off the notes. This presentation would benefit from a more paced delivery. It felt a bit rushed, perhaps the result of natural nerves.
#3. Jacques Copeau – by Nadine
- Led a reaction against Realism.
- Inspired by Elizabethan style.
- Founded Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier in Paris
PRESENTATION: Good pacing, clear enunciation and volume. As Nadine seems personable and natural, this presentation would benefit with some dry rehearsals to allow for elaborating various points ‘off the page’.
I had a nice conversation with my friend xxxxx xxxxx today. He’s going through lots of personal stuff, he’s a worrier, high strung, and his upper back is like one solid mound. So he was complaining in a FaceBook post about it and I had the opportunity to mention Alexander and show him a website: http://www.alexandertechnique.com/
I mentioned that just becoming aware of where the top of the spine is was a revelation; just ‘knowing’ that makes a change. I told him if he took a look around the site he might find one or two things in there that might lead him on a path to letting his brain check out his body with some intention (softening, becoming aware of stress, and the like). Specifically, I directed him to the part on Constructive Rest (which has been very helpful for me) and told him the basics of the technique are not entirely difficult and he might put that into his daily routine. So that was a good thing.
Working on memorizing my monologue. I just can never figure out why it seems easier for me to remember the lead role in an entire play than it does a simple two minute monologue. I struggle with monologues. I spent a three weeks on a one-minute monologue in Acting II at UF, and still misplaced or left out words. I wonder if there is something in Alexander to straighten that out. I will pose this question today in class.
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