* Zombie Line * Get in a circle. * Person 1 approaches person 2. * Upon reaching person 2, delivers a line of dialog in a particular way. * The person 2 approaches person 3. * Person 2 delivers the same line, in the same way, amped up by maybe 1%. * Ideally, you get several of these lines roving around the circle at once. * "Good morning, fucko!" * Start with two people "asleep" onstage. * Note that even the manner in which they sleep can be mined for character & relationship info. * An offstage prompt: "Good morning, fucko!" * Then, each character starts his or her day. * This is done in silence. * The players pay particular attention to spacework. * We're aiming for specificity in the spacework. * (If you're doing lazy/sloppy/vague spacework, why even bother?) * Chase patterns: be a raving paranoid about the very first stuff that happens in the scene, and try to develop your character from that. * So: you're not necessarily *yourself* in this scene. * Find the character that you wind up being. * Whatever quality you see in yourself early on: notice it, respect it, exaggerate it. * Note that the characters are in the same physical space. * Mistakes will be made. Use them. * Or at the very least, trust that these 'mysteries' will work themselves out, in time. * Logic usually 'just works out' in a paradoxical scene. * But characters are unlikely to eventually 'just appear' out of a vague scene. * Eventually you're allowed to speak. * Don't let the dialog shut down your spacework. * This exercise isn't about spacework, but the spacework helps inform your character choices. * And the character chioces are what matter here. * This exercise is very much about taking care of yourself first. * Make character choices for yourself before worrying about the scene or the other people in it. * Don't worry about 'making a good scene'; worry about using *your* day to inform *your* character. * Don't try to solve the other character's problems. * Most often, the other character's problems are what define that character. * "Oh. This is the kind of person who gets pissy about bad coffee." * If you give that character better coffee, s/he might just go back to neutral. * You can like/respect your scene partner, yet still refuse to endow the scene with good coffee. * Once you know your relationship to your scene partner, feel free to say what it is. * Be direct, be explicit, even be expository. * These scenes tend to be good just because they have solid characters. * Solid characters are always watchable. * Ergo, don't worry if your scene doesn't have a premise. * Don't worry about doing 'good improv' -- just do good characters. * If your character is crazy, that's fine, so long as the character isn't just random-crazy. * Your crazy character still needs a point of view. * If you can't find your character, then feel your *reaction* to a line. * If you can find that, start digging into *why* your character reacts that way. * There's a character at the other end of that thread. * Getting to a big character very quickly is the easiest way to do this. * Then you've done the 'work' of the scene in the first 30 seconds. * You can sepnd the rest of the scene just letting that character exist. * And you'll make more discoveries along the way. * A premise can sputter out after 90 seconds. * But a character can keep delivering (& developing) long beyond that. * Character Gauntlet * Everyone lines up along the back. * Person 1 steps forward, starts a scene with a clear character choice. * Person 2 steps forward and *matches* that character choice as thoroughly as they can. * They have a quick scene together. * That scene ends. * Then Person 1 initiates the same sort of thing, with a new character, with Person 3. * And so on down the line. * Once all those are done, bring out Person 2 to do the same thing, down the line. * First and foremost: this exercise was the most I'd laughed in months. * We must do this when I get back to Austin. * Matched energies KILL in performance. * It lets you both discover new stuff quickly together. * It keeps you from getting gummed up in conflicts/premises. * And nobody questions the character choices. * Nobody points and says, "Waiiit, that's weeeeird." * Calling out or questioning a bold character choice is always an option. * But *joining* the energy is always just easier. * "Body Heightening". * Three- or four-person scene in a suggested location. * Start the scene playing yourself, or as close to yourself as you can manage. * Once the scene has settled in, the teacher introduces a physical alteration. * Examples from our class: you all... * ... have a severe underbite * ... always keep your lips puckered out in a "kissy face" * ... constantly run your tongue around your teeth * ... wink after every time you speak. * Whatever emotional change you perceive from that physical change, notice it, develop it, commit to it, and see what develops from it. * If you don't notice any emotional effect from it, then just pick something. * "When in doubt, *pick anything*." * Don't worry about conflicts, premises, "a good scene". * Again, just commit to the characters. That's the important thing. * For the purposes of this exercise. * And, in a larger sense, for the purposes of iO-style improv. * Doing the ridiculous physical constraint *together* kind of 'takes the curse off of it'. * It makes it seem 'right' for the universe. * It makes you feel supported while you're doing it. * The relevant question for physicality is *always* "How does this make me feel?" * With that question, you're building the core of character and finding emotional engagement with the scene. * Without that question, you're just doing a silly walk for the sake of doing a silly walk. * "Accidents" * 1 person is put onstage, and given a location. * The audience, after a 3-count, shouts, "DIE! DIE! DIE!" * The performer explores the location a bit. * The performer finds an object in that location. * The performer heightens the object over and over until... * The object kills the performer. * The performer dies. * The teacher shouts an emphatic "YAY!" and everyone applauds. * It was often fun to find the deadly thing happen long before the actual death. * For instance, a paper cut at the top of the scene caused a bleeding-to-death later on in the scene. * This game is about the power of environment in scenes. * Notes for me: * My notes for myself: * I did pretty badly at checking in with my partner today. * But this is the right week to fail at that. * As above, this is the week where taking care of yourself is priority #1. * I've also been forgetting spacework all over the place when focussing on character exercises. * Oh well. * I didn't feel like I gave myself enough time to explore the setting in the "Accidents" exercise.
Mood: contemplative · Music: none