Friday, January 06, 2006

S&C: Day Eight

I ache all over. Every little and big muscle in my back, neck and arms whines, when touched. This is happening to all of us, though the physical work we're doing doesn't SEEM to be enough to do this. We primarily stretch, dance, but not so strenuously as to cause ache, lie on the floor breathing, and exercise emotionally unravelling experiments on our own psyches. Sigh. We all suspect that's its the later cause which troubles us.

Yesterday was the first day of an exercise they call around here, "Dropping In." Two actors sit facing one another, one knee between the other's two knees, not touching. Next to each actor, sits a faculty member, who feeds the actors nearly every important phrase or word in the scene being rehearsed (though they do whole PLAYS around here, this way.) After the coach says the word or phrase, the actor repeats it. Then the coach shovels out possible associations and questions.

Coach: "Romeo."
Actor: "Romeo"
Coach: "What is Romeo to you? Is that your name? Why are you referring to yourself in the first person? Romeo."
Actor: "Romeo."
Coach: "Are you a prince? Do you love Juliet? Romeo."
Actor: "Romeo."
Coach: "Fond foolish man."
Actor: "Fond foolish man."
Coach: "What is fond? Are you fond of Romeo? Are there people in your life you are fond of? Who are you fond of? What do they look like? Is anyone fond of you? Are you lonely? How do you show fondness? Fond."
Actor: "Fond."

And so on, though it gets a lot more interesting, and I'm just too tired to do the process justice.

I'm not too into it, though. My scene partner is emoting all over the place, feeling deep personal connections to the piece. Me, not so much. My back just hurts. The process seems to be cutting me OFF from images rather than opening them up, though I'm going to give this a chance. As my acting partner says, "Dropping in" is what makes some people think of S&C as a cult, and I see what they mean. We'll see.

Also, yesterday, we had a four and 1/2 hour voice class and a hour and 1/2 stage combat class, before our dropping in session. Then we dropped in. Then we had a hour and 1/2 dance class. Then we dropped in again. By then, it was 10:15 p.m., at which time I went to the bar and didn't leave until after midnight. Too much, too much, too much.

In all, this week of the workshop seems to be more challenging to me than the first week, which, painful as it was, was more in my comfort zone. This week is more technically demanding, as the vocal work gets more precise (we're moving forward in the Linklater progression,) we begin stage combat, and get into scene rehearsals. One thing, though: being here has largely freed me of the hesitance I usually feel to take risks or make a fool of myself on stage, on camera, or in acting class. I'm unrecognizable as the actor I was two years ago, or of three months ago, for that matter (ha! my acting coach and fellow students from PAC would NOT, NOT recognize me!) In front of the pros, I'm failing all over the place. About time.


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