I have to sum up two, because its been a crazy week, which includes a fixed bike that I’m going to start riding to work, hopefully.
We continue to move and explore in new and crazy ways, trying things with a partner and experimenting alone. We are, however, finally bridging the gap between trying new things for the heck of it, and moving in new and different, controlled, ways to elicit emotion. Day 4 presented a challenge for me — we had been working on all this movement work, but the end of the class we stood, individually, in front of the rest of the class, and then everyone discussed their impression of our presence. There were 3 rounds of this, and we tried each time to be as open and present as possible. I think most of us ended up shedding a lot of layers of emotional protection, which is great for actors, but … I’m not an actor. I mean I guess this is important for me to try, if I want to use it as a technique in rehearsal, but it was painful. I’m not a fan of exercises like this, because this is part of why I don’t like being on stage. That vulnerability. So I was uncomfortable.
Day 5, though, was better — we tied that emotional vulnerability together with movement. One of the exercises was walking across the room — and then, later, walking toward a chair — and changing the rhythm of our walking. We went from normal pace to faster, to slower, etc. And, yes, this changes the story being told. We watched everyone individually walk toward their chairs, and we all came away with stories. That, as a director, was a lot of fun, and a great learning experience. I am sorely tempted to explore this in the next show I direct. I don’t want to choreograph it myself, but let the actors explore how each movement changes the scene.
There’s a story that George likes to refer to regarding Marlon Brando on a movie set with a tea cup. I forget who the other actor in the scene was, but the point was that Brando’s character had to drink tea in the scene, and he spent a huge amount of time before filming, figuring out how his character would drink tea in the scene. Precisely. The point, of course, being that every minute movement has an impact both on how you, the actor, feels as the character, and how the audience reads your character.
And the point of the previous day’s exercise, of course, is to show how easy it is to be misinterpreted when you have layers and layers of emotional shields up. You want to convey one version of yourself, but often other people read that differently. So its important, even if its awkward, to find your personal neutral, open personality, and start work from there.
No videos this week: my work is piling up while I focus on learning my bike commute to work. I’ve also become absorbed in a couple of Amy Tan books I picked up at a local book store. I have three scripts to read, all of which I’ve read but two of which I need to reread to form more solid opinions. And, I need to reread the next script I will dramaturg for. Plus I have some articles to write. The month is obviously just not long enough. I hope I can get most of this accomplished this weekend, before the next class.