Today in script analysis, we talked in great detail about the punctuation of good scripts and their value/importance for actors. To give you an idea of this microscopic approach, we had two sentences up from Shakespeare and spent the entire class time looking deeply into the possibilities of what the punctuation tells us both in terms of how the words are presented, but about sub-text and action. Punctuation as action was the theme. I was reminded that there is a word in the Tempest for which nobody knows the meaning and I promised Dr. Russ I would find that word and bring it in. So that’s the suspense…(ellipses may indicate pause, suspense, internal thinking, etc.) We’re heading into a most welcome four-day vacation. I’ll still be working of course, but symbolically, it’s a welcome respite.
Here are the journals:
ACTING FOR DIRECTORS:
Today we watched three more scenes, all very well done for first showings. Particularly, the seats were arranged in a thrust-style and we were treated to a farce-scene from a play in which two Latin Americans try to out-macho each other. They screw with the audience, dance erotically to music, and threaten each other with macho taunts. Pretty funny stuff, off book, lots of hilarious action, and well done. There was a serious contemporary piece which followed. I keep seeing new things (actors out of their known zones) and it truly is remarkable what actors are capable of when challenged to break into new territory. One student, whom I’ve only seen do comedic turns nearly made me cry in this one. She was so absolutely convincing, and remember, we’re talking about first showings here. We’re talking about less than a week of work. Pretty remarkable. Had a great day in class.
Saw a few more first-showing scenes today. Just about everyone is working Mamet scripts, so this will be interesting. Our approach to these scenes unlike Uta, Stanislavski, and Chekov, is that we will be using a contemporary action/analysis approach to our work. We have a study sheet (some pages from a book which is coincidentally introduced by Mamet), A Practical Handbook for the Actor. It begins with Mamet’s intro in which he says, “Most acting training is based on shame and guilt.” What a dickhead. Of course, he’s right though. And he’s a pretty terrific dickhead, one who if not teaching, is provoking (which is teaching anyway). He’s a win-win loser, except he hasn’t lost. I hate to say it, I love the guy. If contradiction isn’t drama, I don’t know what is. Mamet is drama.
Here’s what Uta is like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpzLLv-7_JE
Here’s what Stanislavski is like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eheDFPvUhjs
Here’s what Chekov is like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBSTbhNsDZg
Here’s what Mamet is like: http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/312661/june-17-2010/david-mamet
Here’s what I am like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24-xY1Ez_Ig
I still am maintaining morning and evening constructive rest, which is one of my favorite things about Alexander Technique. I actually feel as if my spine is a different spine than it has been these many years before this course. It is less stiff, less prone to causing back pain, and more at ease, to use the official vernacular. I have also incorporated a bit of Constructive rest and Alexander mind/body connection breathing (that’s what I’m calling it) into my theatre warm-ups before rehearsals in this new play I’m working in. It seems to relax me and at the same time, allow me to be freer in my performances. I get quite into this role, tears, shared emotions of character, and we’re not even anywhere off book yet. That’s very encouraging for what this role will finally evolve into.
Watched Marjorie Barstow’s Introduction to Alexander Technique (short YouTube video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isz5XVqFrFU ). It features a short black & white movie clip of Alexander himself working with a student. That was quite beautiful to see. Barstow’s posture is enviable. She looks just like what you’d expect if someone said, “Sit up straight!” except that there is no over-efforting to notice. She simply looks like she is ‘up’, just like they say in the book. Considering her advanced age in this video—and what happens typically to folks of advanced age what with gravity, downward computers, bad chairs and the like—it’s amazing to see her so perfectly poised and so comfortable.
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