* Warm-up: Quick Scenes * Everyone gets in a circle. * Two people jump in. * They do a two-line scene. * They high-five. * ASAP (i.e., while the high-five is happening), two more people jump in for the next scene. * If (n > 2) people jump in, then (n-1) people respond simultaneously to line #1. * More About "Accidents": * The death needn't be logical. * Just follow the heightening with conviction. * This exercise is also about feeling confident & comfortable with 'selling' a scene alone onstage. * Good object work really engages the audience. * It's more interesting than being clever. * 1 -> 7 -> 1 * 7 people are onstage, in the back line or in the wings. * We get a suggested location. * 1 person does a solo scene in that location. * These scenes are short -- just a couple of beats. * Then a second person jumps in. * They start an unrelated scene. * It's not necessarily in that suggested location. * Repeat until all 7 people are onstage. * The 7-person thing is a complete, self-contained scene. * Then pop back to the 6-person scene. * There has been a time jump in this universe, à la Pan Left/Pan Right. * Try to keep the exact same physicality you ended the 7-person scene with. * And find a way to justify it in this new world. * (See also: Parallel Universes.) * Note that this exercise includes some giant scenes. * Take care not to talk over each other. * Likewise, take care to let the scene respond to the last thing said. * This, instead of saving up an 'awesome' line of dialog, and eventually delivering it no matter what's been said in the interim. * As a support player who barely speaks in a group scene, you can still give your character a specific "thing" (a physicality, a tic, etc.) * Distinct physicality for your different characters is your friend here. * The first six scenes are so short that direct and immediate specificity is your friend. * You don't want the initial scene to be vague. * This will make it impossible to remember. * Entering with an emotion is useful. * Exploring the "Why?" behind an aspect of the scene can lead you to specificity. * (Me: and it tends to ground the scene emotionally.) * Note that the new entrant doesn't have to provide *all* the specifics. * Useful saying: 'everybody brings their own brick'. * Variation: 'You don't have to build the cathedral; you just have to bring your own brick. Then the *group* will build the cathedral together.' * So, someone *enters* with one specific (one brick). * After that, the people already onstage *add* bricks. * If you're one of the people already onstage, you have your own responsibilities. * Look for things that are vague. * Nail them down. * Look for things that could be more specific. * Make them more specific. * Entering with a simple choice is often your best bet. * "It's my first day of work." is fine. * This gives the rest of the ensemble lots of blanks they can immediately nail down. * It gives them opportunities. * This often works much better than UCB-y, sketch-premise sort of initiations. * Remember that you don't need the 'perfect' initiation. * You don't have to endow everybody. * In a 7-person scene, you'll only do 1/7th of the work. * Just bring one simple, solid brick. * The rest will take care of itself. * Nailing down the environment (either verbally or with spacework) helps make the scene easier to remember. * Silent scenes set to music. * Two people get onstage. * We get a suggested location or relationship. * The teacher picks a song to play. * The two people then do a silent scene, for the duration of that song. * You let the music inform the scene. * Note: in scenes without a song in the background, you can still imagine a song in your head, and let that influence your decisions. * This exercise pushes clearer physicality & emoting. * It's surprising how much you can convey without dialog. * Ergo, feel free to employ silence in scenes. * And take advantage of physicality/emoting even when you're delivering dialog. * And spacework -- keep discovering stuff in your environment. * The two performers need to check in a *lot*. * It's almost mirroring, in this regard. * Specificity will help you find the scene. * Me: even though you can't say anything, you can still imagine the scene elements as very specific things. * e.g., this isn't just a car, it's a rusted-out beige 1980 El Dorado. * "O Mighty Isis" * 7 people get onstage. * The teacher prompts with a large thing/place of some sort. * They create a tableau of the object, one person at a time. * Each person comes onstage, embodies the object-part they're doing, and then announces what they are. * "I am the ship's anchor, sunk deep into the ocean floor." * (Other versions of this exercise are silent.) * Include sounds or motions, when appropriate. * Follow the mood/style of the object. * We're going depth-first rather than breadth-first here. * i.e., we're not dismissing what we've found so far, and exploring something new. * Instead, we're finding ways to deepen and develop what the ensemble has created so far. * "Keep exploring what you know to be true." * Avoid embodying human beings. * You can embody sounds/smells/etc. * Once everybody's had a go, you can take a new position and embody something new. * Me: "Follow-the-energy" (see last week's notes) seems to work well here. * i.e. when somebody creates an inspiring offer, the ensemble can jump in and help explore that corner of the object. * One varation: embody a living thing, and then have the fully-embodied creature do things. * "Narrative Fantasy" * 7 people onstage. * The audience suggests a title. * One of them narrates a fantastical tale. * The rest of the cast embodies the elements of the story. * There is give-and-take between offers from the narrator and offers from the ensemble. * But there is respect. * The ensemble listens for offers from the narrator. * The narrator observes the actions of the ensemble. * Again, it helps when everybody is doing the same thing. * Repetition is inherently satisfying. * If you set a pattern, the audience will delight in every time it comes back. * So, commit to such patterns. * Meticulously perform every step when they come around. * Me: once a pattern shows up, you can tweak it in different ways to make it emotionally expressive. * (e.g. this time around, every step of the repeated pattern is done very nervously.) * Everyone participates all the time. * "Story Theater" * This is the same as "Narrative Fantasy", except there is no set narrator. * Instead, different people take on the narration as the mood strikes them. * Also the narrator is always participating in the ensemble work. * Again, everyone participates all the time. * Always always always look for chances for an "all-play" * i.e., points where the *whole ensemble* can, for a time, do the exact same thing. * Scene-painting a character in this exercise can be very useful. * It can help give that person their POV. * Even knowing what you're wearing can help you find your character. * (Keep that in mind for scenework in general.) * General Notes: * Respect mistakes. * Hell, be *paranoid* on the lookout for mistakes. * Rolling with mistakes forces you to stop rapidly-writing. * It makes you really improvise. * Mistakes lead you to decisions you couldn't come up with on your own. * Notes for me: * In both of your 1->7->1 scenes, you entered as someone outside the group. * (In one case, a film director; another, as a lawyer reading a family's will.) * Instead, try finding ways to be "one of the group". * Being *with* the group will make it far easier for you to have an emotional stake in the scene.
Mood: contemplative · Music: none