Class 8
Wednesday, January 23, 2019

CLASS

Announcements

  • Jordan? Decision about a group?
  • Scene choices.

Grounding: rubbing hand down the legs OR Group Grounding

Go!

Impulse Circle –> Freeze?

                                                                                                                                                           

 

Space Substance: (5 min)

A EXPLORATION

Large group (no audience necessary).

Move around the stage, giving substance to space as they go.

  • They are not to feel or present space as though it were a known material (water, mud, molasses, etc.) but are to explore it as a totally new and unknown substance.
  • Move through the substance and make contact with it.
  • Don’t give it a name – it is what it is!
  • Use your whole body to make contact! Feel it against your cheeks!  Your nose! Your knees!  Your hips!  Let it (space) feel you!
  • If players tend to use hand only, have them keep their arms close to their bodies so as to move as a single mass.
  • Push the substance around.
  • Explore it!
  • You never felt it before.
  • Make a tunnel!
  • Move back into the space your body has shaped.
  • Shake it up!
  • Make the substance fly.
  • Stir it up!
  • Make it ripple.

SUPPORT AND EFFORT

  • Let the space substance support you.
  • Lean on it.
  • Rest on it.
  • Let it hold your head.
  • Your chin.
  • Your arms.
  • Your eyeballs.
  • Your upper lip, etc. [82]

After the players are in motion and responding to the problem, give a new understanding to the space substance they are contacting.

SIDE COACHING: You are holding yourself up.  You would fly into a thousand pieces if you quit holding yourself up. You are hanging on to your arms.  Your mouth.  Your forehead. (Call out the various parts of the body that the students hold rigid.)  Now have the students go back to having the space substance “support” them.  Change back and forth until the student actors obviously feel the difference.  While calling out parts of the body, help the students to release the muscle holds. (One student who customarily had a tight expression on his face that gave him what might be called a “mean” look first became aware of his rigidity through this exercise.

EVALUATION:

To players: how did you feel when space was supporting you? When you were your own support?

To audience: did you notice a difference between support and no support in the way the players walked and looked.

POINTS OF OBSERVATION:

When players hold themselves together, are their own gravity line, so to speak, some shrink up, some seem to be afraid of falling, while others appear anxious, lonely, and still others look aggressive. In fact, many “character qualities” appear.  When, on the other hand, the players lean on space, an expansion and fullness can be noted as they move through the environment.  Smiling faces, peacefulness, and an air of gentleness appear.  It is as if they know the environment will support them if they allow it to.

“Put your signature in space” is a good side-coaching remark to place the player in the environment. The object is for the player to leave a mark in space – a footprint, the outline of his head, etc. – and then see that mark.

TOUCH AND BE TOUCHED/SEE AND BE SEEN

SIDE COACHING:

  • Allow the space to flow through you and you flow through the space.
  • Allow your mind to flow through your brain.
  • Allow your sight to flow through your eye.
  • Allow the space to flow through you and your fellow player.
  • Take a ride on your own body and view the scenery around you.
  • Touch an object in the pace – a tree, a cup, a piece of clothing, a chair.
  • When you touch the object, fell it, allow it to touch (feel) you! (vary objects).
  • Touch a fellow player and allow your fellow player to touch you. Touch and be touched! (vary players).
  • Flow through the space and allow the space to flow through you and your fellow players. See an object. The moment you really see it, allow the object to see you! (vary objects).
  • See a fellow player. Allow the fellow player to see you.
  • Look full face at your fellow player and occlude: do not see him or let yourself be seen.
  • Change! See and be seen.
  • Repeat several times. Vary players.

 

POINTS OF OBSERVATION:

Remember to keep players moving and to allow time between each side coaching. Was it difficult to allow yourself to be touched… to be seen?  Avoid analysis.

 

Rhythm Workout

Apart from exploring any rhythms which are alien to you and working with the emotions, as suggested above, it is a good idea to play with all the rhythms regularly so that it becomes easy to access them and to switch from one to another.

When you are playing with rhythms it is important to go back to the chart and check the weight, flow and focus so that you know the rhythms are precise.

Here is my suggestion for a regular rhythm workout.

  • Take each rhythm and begin to move in that rhythm, ensuring that the weight, flow and focus are accurate.  Have the chart on hand so you can easily check.
  • Work with your whole body committing to the rhythm you are exploring completely and with great ease.
  • Once you have worked on each rhythm individually then alternate between them.
  • Alternate slowly at first so that you are sure that you are getting accurate shifts of weight, flow and focus.
  • Then, speed up so that you can change swiftly between the rhythms without losing accuracy.

Working in this way will give you a great deal of flexibility – physically, mentally and vocally – and it will help you access those characters whose rhythms are radically different from yours.

 

SIDE COACHING

  • Exaggerate or Extend – make it bigger
  • Minimize – make it smaller
  • Elongate – make it last longer
  • Shorten – make it slower

PRESS:

  • Heavy, Sustained, and Direct.
  • Action: press against a wall, table, or other surface.
  • Derivative Actions: crush, cut, squeeze.
  • Note the qualities: its weight, the fact that you can do it continuously without interruption, that your focus is direct.

PUNCH:

  • Heavy, Sudden, and Direct
  • Gateway Actions: as if punching a punching bag, shadow boxing.
  • Derivative Actions: shove, kick, poke.
  • Notice the qualities: its weight, the fact that you must stop and start again with each movement, that your focus is direct.

WRING: 

  • Heavy, Sustained, and Indirect.
  • Gateway Actions: wringing your hands, wringing water out of wet laundry, twisting your body or limbs
  • Derivative Actions: pull, pluck, stretch.
  • Note the qualities: its weight, the fact that you can do it continuously without interruption, that your focus is scattered or less direct.

SLASH:

  • Heavy, Sudden, and Indirect
  • Gateway Actions: slashing repeatedly to the side first with one arm then the next, as if defending from an attack; using your arms to splash water on people.
  • Derivative Actions: beat, throw, whip.
  • Notice the qualities: its weight, the fact that you must stop and start again with each movement, that your focus is scattered or less direct.

GLIDE:

  • Light, Sustained, and Direct.
  • Gateway Actions: stretch your arms out to each side, shoulder level, shoulder blades relaxed, and move like a gliding plane, or as if skating in long strides.
  • Derivative Actions: smooth, smear, smudge.
  • Notice the qualities: its lightness, the fact that you can do it continuously without interruption, that your focus is direct.

DAB: 

  • Light, Sudden, and Direct
  • Gateway Actions: as if dabbing a stain on your favourite shirt or carpet, dabbing paint on a canvas, cleaning a very delicate piece of crystal
  • Derivative Actions: pat, tap, shake.
  • Notice the qualities: its lightness, the fact that you must stop and start again with each movement, that your focus is direct.

FLOAT:

  • Light, Sustained, and Indirect.
  • Gateway Actions: as if you’re a piece of paper, a leaf, or a plastic bag delicately blown around by the wind.
  • Derivative Actions: strew, stir, stroke.
  • Note the qualities: its lightness, the fact that you can do it continuously without interruption, that your focus is scattered or less direct.

FLICK:

  • Light, Sudden, and Indirect
  • Gateway Actions: as if flicking Crokinole pieces, or a fly off the rim of your wine glass, or lint or fluff off your favourite sweater.
  • Derivative Actions: flip, flap, jerk.
  • Notice the qualities: its lightness, the fact that you must stop and start again with each movement, that your focus is scattered or less direct.

SIDE Coaching:

  • Exaggerate
  • Minimize
  • Elongate
  • Shorten

 

EXPLORING YOUR CHARACTER’S RHYTHMS PHYSICALLY

This stage allows you to take the rhythm work further by physically exploring the rhythms you have chosen for your character and what clues they give you about the character’s external and internal movement.

Start by taking each of the character rhythms individually and exploring it physically, ensuring that you are committing fully to the specific combination of weight, flow, and focus of that rhythm.

Then, move between the different character rhythms exploring how they work together.

  • Rest for a while and consider what you have learnt about the character and the way he/she moves, thinks, feels, etc. Make notes or draw images if that is helpful to you.
  • Then, return to the strong physical exploration of these three rhythms and begin to speak the text, shifting from one rhythm to the next as feels instinctively appropriate.
  • Always keep the choice of which rhythm you use for which part of the text free, rather than setting it in any way. You are simply exploring possibilities: “What if these were the rhythms I used?”

Working with rhythms is particularly useful when you have to play more than one character.

  • First, establish the rhythms for each character.
  • Then, look for the main differences in rhythm between each of the characters you are playing.
  • Focus on these differences and explore them physically.
  • Then, still working physically, practice switching from one character to another, slightly exaggerating the rhythmic differences.
  • As always, this is exploratory work, which you then allow to take care of itself once you are back in rehearsals and performance.

 

CHARACTER VS YOU

  • Imagine that you character can only have one rhythm, choose which, from Laban’s eight, it would be. For the moment, choose instinctively rather than considering weight, flow or focus.
  • Once you have chosen one rhythm, choose a second one in the same way.
  • Then, choose a third in the same way. Make sure that you have noted these three rhythms down.

Note: I usually find three rhythms are a good, workable number, but if you feel you need more, fair enough.  I choose them one at a time because I find this the simplest and most effective way.  As with the motivation there is no one right answer. Choosing the rhythm is a device for helping you to identify the differences between you and the character.

  • Now consider yourself for a moment. Again, imagining that you can only have one rhythm, choose which it would be. As before, choose instinctively.
  • Then, pick a second rhythm.
  • Then, pick a third. Again, note these three rhythms down.

Now that you have the two lists of possible rhythms you can analyze and then compare them. Start with your character’s list and refer to the chart as necessary.

  • Note whether the character is predominantly heavy or light.
  • Note whether the character is predominantly sustained or staccato.
  • Note whether the character is predominantly focused or unfocussed.

For example, if for Petal we chose GlideFloat, and Dab, that would make her completely light, predominantly direct, and predominantly sustained.

If for Claudio we chose PunchWring, and Glide, that would make him predominantly heavy, direct, and sustained.

  • Now go through the same process with your own list.

For example, if the actor playing Petal identified her own rhythms as GlideWring and Slash, she would be predominantly heavy, indirect and sustained.

If the actor playing Claudio identified his own rhythms as being PunchFloat and Dab, that would make him predominantly light, direct, and staccato.

  • Now compare the analysis of yourself and your character, Look for differences in weight, flow, and focus between the two.

For example, the actor playing Petal would notice that Petal is lighter than her and more direct.

The actor playing Claudio would notice that Claudio is heavier and more sustained than he is.

Simply identifying the differences can be very helpful and is often enough for the actor concerned to make the necessary rhythm changes.

We’ll do a little more on that on Friday, or later in the class, depending.

 

SPEECH WORK

Beginning of the thought journey:

Dividing your speech up into sections.  Think of action.

What happens to the person to make them able to move from one thought to the next?

How have you broken your speech down….?

 

Experience it physically, because that’s where it lives.  But we want to

 

Objectives:  Speech vs. Soliloquy

Soliloquys                            Speeches                                         Both

Kaylee (Julia)                       Matthew C. (Jaques)                       Matthew H. (Macbeth)

Maria (Hamlet)                     Isabella (Rosalind)                          Miranda T. (Juliet)

Alyssa (Juliet)                       Caroline (Antipholus of S.)

Amy (Viola)                           Jordan (Emilia)

Shayla (Petruchio)              Zoe (Helena)

April (Juliet)                          Mackenzie (Hermione)

Anika (Ariel)

Kalie (Richard II)

 

 

EXERCISES

Speaking to an object (Houseman)

  • Sit with a plant or lamp in front of you. The plant or lamp represents the person you are talking to in the speech.  This helps you to talk rather than act [see notes on this in the previous chapter].
  • Look at  the first phrase on the page – that is, up to the first punctuation mark. Give yourself time to absorb it.
  • Then, look up and register the plant or lamp before you speak, as if you are taking a moment to connect with the person it represents.
  • Then, speak the phrase really wanting to communicate it.
  • At the end of the phrase, pause for a moment as it to check that that phrase has been registered by the person you are talking to.
  • Continue through the whole speech in this way, taking the time to absorb each phrase, to look up and connect, to communicate and to check that what you have said has been received.

Sound exploration

  • Vowels only
  • Consonants only
  • Mouthing silently
  • Line

 

Note: For this exercise the lines may be temporarily broken up so that you can connect with each phrase. In later exercises, however, we will look at flowing each line through.

 

Procedure
Attendance and Games
  • Play to win

TIME

1:00 pm
1:05 pm
5 minutes
105 minutes remaining

Warm-Up
Focus on Articulators
  • Quick Kaplan standing breath drop and expansion:
    • Check in to how we feel
    • In plier, arms up, pulling left, then right, and breathing into upward and outward arc to expand ribs
    • Hands on opposite shoulders, tight to sternum, drop and hang in plier to relax lower abdomen
    • Roll up, slowly for alignment
    • Swing and dive into hottub on the ceiling
    • Arms down to cross position, then down with face to look vertical
    • How do you feel now?
  • Sound production
    • allow breath in between sounds…
    • touch of breath “huh”
    • extended “huuuuuh”
    • extended up through range “huuuuuuuuh”
    • use lips/embouchure to create vowel sounds while keeping jaw relaxed
      • Huh
      • Hay
      • Hee
      • High
      • Hoe
      • Hoo
    • send sounds up and out
    • throw vowels around
  • Articulators (introduction)
    • lips (pee pee pee bee bee bee)
    • teeth & tongue or teeth and lips (tee tee tee, dee dee dee, fee fee fee vee vee vee, juh juh juh)
    • tongue (rah rah rah)
    • jaw
    • soft palate (kee kee kee, gee gee gee)

TIME

1:05 pm
1:20 pm
15 minutes
90 minutes remaining

Exercise
How many A's in A?
  • The tip-toe diver grounding exercise
  • Other exercises if time permits

TIME

1:20 pm
1:25 pm
5 minutes
85 minutes remaining

Practice
Speech Work
  • comparison (Portia)
  • contradiction/paradox (Helena – one in two)
  • this and that (Hamlet)
  • Personification (Viola, Hamlet, Constance)
  • Antithesis (Hamlet)
  • Lists (Hamlet, Helena, Constance, Paulina…)
  • Parenthesis
  • Irony (Paulina, Constance…)
  • puns (no on really)
  • Onomatopoeia
  • Slow down (mono, hard to say fast, adjacent consonants….)

TIME

1:50 pm
2:35 pm
45 minutes
15 minutes remaining

Game
Chopper
  • The tip-toe diver grounding exercise
  • Other exercises if time permits

TIME

1:25 pm
1:30 pm
5 minutes
80 minutes remaining

Practice
Entrance and Exit
  • The entrance and exit exercise
  • 5 minutes to explain
  • 15 minutes to work on it

TIME

1:30 pm
1:50 pm
20 minutes
60 minutes remaining

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