I'm more awake today than I was all yesterday. We're walking zombies around here, now. Hungry ones. You should see us chow down at meal times. We're all shovelling in much more food than we would at home, seeking both energy and comfort. We can see a bit more testiness between actors now, too, surprise, surprise.
Yesterday we went further into the Linklater progression, spending a couple hours or more on the lower and 'upper' jaw (that's the skull, if you're wondering). We also began to do some Alexander Technique work on movement. I can't say much about that, yet, because we're being eased in slowly, almost easily. There was also a clown workshop. Bah, humbug. I froze up in it, embarrassed by what feels like my lack of childlike imagination (I think of myself as being capable of eliciting emotional truth, and humor, but not comedic 'performance;' that is, not spectacle.)
We also did an exercise they call "Standing In," a follow-up to "Dropping In." In this, scene partners stand in the rehearsal room, a good distance from one another. Each has a coach to feed in lines. The actors stand neutrally, still taking in images and sending 'vibrations' (quite literally) to their partners, without any 'acting.' This stage is "somewhere between dropping in and putting the scene up on its feet," as one faculty member put it. I dunno. I say that this exercise, as well as Dropping In, doesn't work for me. But, I may also not be honoring the images that DO come to me. I'm not feeling emotive, nor experiencing any 'aha' moment, but more transparent, more gossamer images and thoughts do float in. They're often subtle. They often merely need to be noticed. Perhaps if I allow myself to 'notice' more, I'll get more out of this.... Well, yeah, since I put it that way.
Last night, Tina Packer gave us another interactive lecture, in which she used a few lines from several scenes that are being worked on individually by pairs of actors to demonstrate various rehearsal techniques, which she likes. Familiar stuff, but expertly done. Two of my favorite rehearsal 'games' she recommends are "to the Nth degree" and "vowels." In the former, the actors take their actions and emotions to absurd heights, pounding each action and emotion. The most wonderful thing about this exercise is that it reveals the hot quick changes in intentions and feeling that happen from one WORD to the next, and which are easily missed, otherwise.
In the later exercise--"vowels"--actors stick their tongues out over their lips and say their lines so that it's impossible to pronounce consonants. Only vowels come out. "OOOO eeeee OOOO OOOO OOOO OOOOOO...." This releases a ton of emotional power and gets to the primitive, grunting quality that energizes all Shakespeare's text. When the actors reintroduce the consonants, they're more communitive, more open to one another, more needy.
Yesterday got hard for me. By the end of the day, I felt physically and emotionally depleted, not up to the task. I felt like a 'bad' actor, a hopeless case, a middle-aged dope. Ahhhhhhh. Just a stepping stone in the river.
note: please forgive me for the lack of email correspondence that I owe a few people, e.g., Neil, Theresa, Suzy, Rob, Melissa, Bob, Sue.... I'll catch up to you in February.