Wednesday, September 03, 2008


At the moment we're working on Shakespeare basics and laying the groundwork for working with acting "styles."  In our first Acting class assignment, we sang a song in two different ways--one, representational, "R&N" (Realism & Naturalism), the other, "presentational," as if to a big house or as part of a night club act.  In our second assignment, we're performing one monologue three different ways:  big, nineteenth-century, declamatory/oratorical; small R&N; and a combination of the two.  In Voice class, we're working on the basics of scansion and rhetoric.  In Movement, we're (at the moment) working on alignment and form through mask and Alexander Technique.

All in all, we have three Shakespeare monologues and two scenes in our heads.  That volume of material will increase sharply toward the later part of September.

I'm also teaching Acting I.  At the moment, we're using games to lay the foundations for sense memory, action/objective, improv, open scenes, monologues, and structured scene work.  It's interesting to repeat the work I did in my first year of grad school with freshman actors.  One weakness I have as a teacher is to over-explain these games, which are designed to teach experientially what need not be explained didactically, at least not yet.  I've been over-eager to establish for my students that there is an arc, and build, to the curriculum (particularly since they've not yet had homework to do.)  One strength I have as a teacher, though, is a sense of responsibility for making sure the curriculum arcs and builds.  When I was training as a teacher at Columbia U., I enjoyed writing curricula, which arc and build like a good novel, when working well.

Lastly, I'm exercising at least 45 minutes a day (I also get out for a 3 hours walk about once a week to clear my head and work lines) and eating better.  I'm feeling better, though appallingly, I'm losing pounds very, very slowly.  In Portland, I could melt off five pounds in two or three weeks.  I've taken off 3-5 pounds since early August, and hope to trim 7 more.  I want my waist line to be 36" again.  It's now 38".  During my heavy (and married) thirties, it was often 44".  At my fattest, it was 48-50, depending on who wielded the tape.

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