Friday, December 12, 2008

Autumn Semester: Final Notes

I have one final project to complete, but otherwise, the fall term is over.  I'm not a (much) different actor now than I was sixteen months ago.  All my old faults apply, though maybe less so.  What I do notice, though, is that both in my work and daily life I'm looking over my shoulder a bit less often.  Not quite less often enough--in conference with faculty yesterday, they pointed out to me one or two ways in which self-consciousness still sabotages my work at inopportune moments, and I must address them, in the spring (my final) term--but less often enough to be both noticeable and encouraging.  I'm more often thinking less before speaking. I'm more often not calculating first whether my words or actions will be acceptable, but rather I'm trusting them to be acceptable... to me.  I'm not trying to be a kid any more.  I'm less often trying to be the actor I'm not.  I'm more often able to be and work with economy, with increasing control over my voice and physical poise, without undue strain at either.  Doing Orphans was a minor revelation to me:  Harold was more graceful than I am, the guy who was playing him.  This was not a decision I made far in advance, but rather a discovery that crept up on me during the rehearsal process.  By the time we opened, Harold was one smooth cat, as Millstone tends not to be.  I bet Harold could have danced darned well, if he'd wanted, as Millstone can't.  

In final conference, I was given positive and critical notes.  Positive:  I'm moving better, I'm working more from my center, my vocal issues are fare more under control, though issues remain.  Critical:  I'm inconsistent, especially not holding onto the gains I make in dialect coaching sessions when I get to performance, I'm not as good in solo (i.e., monologue) work as I am in scene (i.e., where I have an acting partner) work, as I'm not so good at working off imaginary, external detail, whereas having a live, breathing acting partner liberates me, gets my thumb out of my own arse (my acting partner can be the script girl, doesn't matter what she does, she just have to be there.)  

I have a goodly amount of work to do over the holidays:  about 500 lines of Shakespeare to work:
  • get off book for Jacques in As You Like It
  • work 34 line Berowne monologue
  • work 80 line Berown monologue for "Fast, Loud, and Clear" exercise (i.e., perform monologue at 100% volume, 100% speed, and 100% clarity)
  • get off book for Friar Lawrence in both Act II, sc 3 and Act III, sc 3
In the spring semester, we are working more Shakespeare in January, working the Greeks in February, and doing comedy in March and April.  Comedy comes last, because it's hardest. Also, it breaks the rules.  We had to learn the rules first.

Among my options for after graduation:  Jack recommends I look at Philadelphia, a good theater town with lots of union work, an hour train ride from NYC.  Portland = friends and great life.  Philadelphia or elsewhere = lots of time on stage.  I may need to choose the lots of time on stage now so I can come back to Portland later.


Jon said...

This was fascinating to read, as always.

And if you choose Philadelphia, I'll make the trip up from Delaware (only 45 minutes) and buy you a drink some evening, as thanks for all this entertaining blogging. It's true, everything's closer in the East -- Baltimore and DC are also not that far away.

Dennis Baker said...

I am curious why they said Philadelphia? It is a hour a way by train (truthfully I think its more), but it would be difficult to get up to NYC for an audition, especially an EPA that the line start early in the morning. I don't know a lot about the Philly Theater scene. Check out the below link. Love to hear what you find out.