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Peter Rogers's Blog
Artist-in-Residence at Chez Firth

Tuesday (7/10/12) 12:24am - ... wherein Peter attends week 1, day 1 of the iO Summer Intensive.

Here are my notes from week 1, day 1 of the iO Summer Intensive.  Our instructor for week one is Marla Caceres.

* Song spot
        * This isn't just about singing songs and singing along.
        * Think about other ways to support: clapping, dancing, anything.
                * Keep an eye on the room; see if you can *join* in the pattern.
        * Definitely tag someone out when they're struggling.
        * Don't self-censor ("D'oh, this song isn't 'good enough'!")
        * As you play, take note of the patterns you see among the songs.

* Cocktail Party
        * Put three pairs of people on stage.
        * Give each of them a topic of conversation.
        * Have them all converse a bit.
        * Then, direct one to take the focus, then another.
        * Then, let them do the same thing, undirected.
        * Stay aware of who else is talking.
                * ... and the general "shape of the exercise".
        * Let the pace increase over time.
        * Revel in the connections among the conversations.
        * But don't feel like you have to *force* either.

* Consider both of these warm-ups to be similar to, say, the opening of a Harold.
        * They are exercises that spontaneously generate interesting themes.

* Scenework exercises:
        * You're given a relationship between two characters.
        * These characters are in a diner.
        * Character A starts with "I have a confession to make," and finishes the line.
                * Character B responds with "I have a confession to make," and finishes that line.
        * Try to get both characters on 'a team'.
                * i.e. they're both on the same page.
        * Remember that your confession should have some resonance/importance for your character.
                * Generally, don't be afraid to have your character show vulnerability, or seem pathetic.
                        * This can be very entertaining for the audience.
        * If the two confessions seem of unequal 'weight', you can make the 'lesser' one *feel* more important.

* Scenes with a given relationship and conflict.
        * The challenge: do the scene without worrying about the conflict.
                * i.e. don't get caught at loggerheads; keep building a scene together.
        * You can have long stretches of agreement, even in a "conflict scene".
                * "Saying 'yes' gives you *more* to play with."
        * It's often helpful to provide *why* your character feels so passionately about this or that point of view.

* Reflective Scenes
        * This is where we start with one scene, and then do a number of scenes based around the themes, ideas, and quirks of that scene.
        * It could be something big, or it could just be a Family Guy-esque riff on a tiny, odd detail.
        * The callback can be completely literal.
* General notes:
        * iO prioritizes emotional reality, even in its fantastical scenes.
                * If something feels like bullshit, it probably is.        

* Notes for me:
        * You're good at giving gifts/endowments to the other people onstage.
                * Don't do that to the exclusion of giving gifts to yourself/taking care of yourself.
        * I feel like I kind of cratered on the "conflict" exercise.
                * I spun out some world-building, but I couldn't get away from "Raaah I am soooo mad at you".
        * If you're in a "quick throwaway bit" scene, and nobody wipes it... just treat it as a real scene.
                * As Dave Pasquesi would say (paraphrasing), "Okay, let's just figure out who these people are."
                * Just settle in, instead of waiting for the scene to wipe.

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Date:Tuesday (7/10/12) 9:36am
This is fascinating.
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