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

Wednesday (7/11/12) 12:44am - ... wherein Peter attends week 1, day 2 of the iO Summer Intensive.

Here are my notes from week 1, day 2 of the iO Summer Intensive.  Our instructor for week one is Marla Caceres.

* Mindfuck
        * This is the game where you send list of items around the circle.
                * All the items are in one category.
                * Then you send another list around.
                * Then another.
                * Finally, you try and do 2, then 3 lists simultaneously.
        * Treat the pattern in Mindfuck like any opening-game pattern.
                * Attend to the theme being developed.
                * If the pattern changes, follow the change.
                * If your "pre-loaded" idea no longer fits the pattern, drop your idea.
* Tagouts
        * What is a tagout?
                * A tagout is when you change the scene *without* going to a different world.
                        * As opposed to a "sweep edit", which typically blows away this whole universe & starts us from scratch.
                * Typically, you keep one or more characters from the previous scene.
                        * But you needn't do so.
        * Why perform a tagout?
                * It can build context for the current action.
                * It allows for jumps in time and/or space.
                * It can let us quickly develop a pattern or game.
                * It can put a sharp character in a new environment.
                * It can explain a character's motivation.
                * It can answer a question the audience has.
                * It can show something they suddenly want/need to see.
                * It can let us in on a character's secret.
                        * Often by providing ironic counterpoint to a claim.
                * It can be good for the 'rhythm' of the show.
                        * You can click forward to new action without blowing away the existing world.
        * How do you do a tagout?
                * Typically, you physically 'tap out' the people you don't want in the next scene.
                * Over time, this is becoming more subtle.
                        * Like maybe a gesture or nod to the person.
                * If you do a tagout, start your next scene with a clear initiation.
                * Be supportive.
                        * Always tag out if the people on stage need you to tag out.
                                * Think of someone floundering in song spot.
                                        * i.e., we don't want that.
                        * Always listen for opportunities to tag out.
                                * Be it a quick 'callout joke' or a fully-developed scene.
                * Note that if you're inside of a scene, you can always take the initiative and *leave the stage*.
* Reflective scenes
        * This time, we started from a soundscape and generated scenes off of that.
        * You can use either large themes or small details from the opener.
                * Either way, try to hold on to the overall 'flavor' of the opener.
        * In this exercise, we want to increase the pace as we go on.
* 2-Person scenes
        * The setup:
                * Both people perform a physical activity. 
                        * (e.g. "weeding a garden")
                * They get really into the activity, in detail, silently.
                * They use that activity to arrive at their emotional state.
                * Then (and *only* then), they initiate dialog.
        * Ideally, the resulting emotion shouldn't be *about* the activity.
                * Try to make it about something deeper.
        * Try to get to the emotional truth of the scene.
                * In an early scene, this can provide a *lot* of fuel for the rest of the show.
                * But still, you needn't *force* that emotion.
                        * i.e., you don't have to *invent* something to feel emotional about.
        * The silent start to the exercise is far more gripping than you would think, for far longer than you would think.
        * If the initial dialog leads to a serious bombshell being revealed, the audience will wonder, "Why did this revelation happen *today*?  Why *now*?"
        * Performers (not necessarily characters) ought to agree as much as possible in the initial dialog.
                * Disagreement, especially about basic nature-of-the-universe stuff, is damned hard to build on.

* General notes:
        * If something peculiar happens in a scene, the audience noticed it.
                * So *grab on* to that weird thing.
                        * Make it a game or a character trait.
        * If you play a silent character, that's a fine choice.
                * But make sure you still give gifts and info to your partner.
                * You don't want to just be a vaguely-emotive cipher.
        * Watch a scene -- especially an early one -- for its open questions.
        * You can *always* escalate anything.
                * You can also *always* emotionally overreact to things.
                        * (Justify afterwards, if necessary.)
        * Always always be affected by what's going on.
* Notes for me:
        * Remember that you tend to play low-status and un-aggressive.
                * So: if someone late in a scene endows you as high-status or über-aggressive, that creates a question for the audience.
        * My notes for myself:
                * If someone behind you is doing something weird or off (as noted by, say, audience reaction), try to check in on what's up there.
                * If you start a scene with a certain emotional outlook, try to hold on to it through the scene.
                        * Any subsequent action in the scene, you can interpret via that same point of view.

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Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none
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Date:Wednesday (7/11/12) 10:12am

I'd to see you opinions on the material at some point. Though maybe it's best not to judge while you're in it.
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Date:Wednesday (7/11/12) 3:48pm
Keep this stuff coming!
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