Thursday, June 30, 2011

Post # 2 (Finally!)

Hola, Bloggers! Thanks for hanging in there...I know it's been a while since I rapped at ya. I have been my usual indecisive blogger...unable to find time to sit down to vent and then unsure about what information out of all of it to send over to you guys. Part of the deal is that at this ACT program, you get bombarded with a barrage of information on any given day. All in one day you have to be a super-student, clown, performer, dramatist, etc... Any second you might be asked to purge all of your emotions out in front of a group of individuals without batting an eyelash. It takes a lot out of you and you find yourself operating on a level that is selfish to the rest of your body. You spend your 9-10 hour days "cranked up to 11" and then you don't have enough time to get home and get the rest your body deserves. I myself am recovering from a small cold. Not really a disabling one, but leading to at least one pretty miserable day of low-energy, stuffy nosiness.

The answer to the BURNING question that I'm sure is on everybody's mind is: Yes, I am learning and yes, I am becoming a better actor than I was coming in. In some ways, I am the same. My work ethic has remained hard and my methods have not become avant garde. Their program doesn't redefine the wheel of acting with any bizarre outlandish technique, just shows you how to use all the component parts. What has really increased is the depth of which I am learning to probe in my work, how to push myself to explore drama at a professional level. For example, we do scene work, like in any acting class. Prof. actors will work on getting a show up for maybe a month, with 40 hour weeks of working on it. I imagine that, before the program, any one scene I might work on for less than eight hours and think, 'yeah, that feels pretty good.' I am learning how to get a better grasp of how deep scene work needs to be, and gaining a variety of rehearsal techniques to help deepen understanding.

Most of the ACT program is about fine-tuning your rehearsal process. After all, Theatre is 90% rehearsal process, and it's not a performing arts program, so the performance is mainly in our hands. ACT tries to provide us with a plethora of tools and instinctual abilities to deepen our performances. We explore new ways of moving, breathing, talking, and rehearsing so that our work can become more real, more life-like and more active. It caters hard to Stanislavskian principals: Text, action and physicalization. Right now, trying to say 'Sure, I'll just apply all this stuff to my work!" Seems kind of like saying your going to mow the lawn and heading out with a lawn mower, scissors, weed killer, clippers, a knife, weedwacker, etc. etc. I journal and take notes so that after the program is over, I can start to look over what I did and figure out "What the F*** just happened!" But I do sincerely believe that yes, I am becoming a better, stronger, more assured actor and that it will show in future productions I do.

is inspiring seeing what different things my group brings to the table. I am part of the green company, and we are all now, extremely close. People shine in movement, or improv (with the help of experience with Mr. Nepom and Severs) or clowning or monologues (my rough point.) Every day is an opportunity to learn from each other, and every class is applicable to what we do as actors, generally and philosophically. One of the cooler moments of connection I saw was in a classmate of mine, Thomas. On the second week, I was getting a little worried about Thomas. He is a very talented, charismatic actor, but is still victim to many actor ticks on stage that make his work the same. Over the first week and a half, I could see him getting down on himself, getting frustrated and going inside himself. Then, in clowning class, we were doing an exercise where we went and stood in front of the class as our clown, having just experienced some triumph or failure. Our wonderful teacher, Letitia Bartlett, happened to say something about how "Clowning is a great place to exaggerate actor ticks." Thomas took note at this, and when he went up, his clown was a comical, exaggeration of Thomas on stage having ticks. Over the next hour, I observed him use every exercise as an opportunity to vent all that frustration and nervous energy out in an exaggerated form of the very thing he was having trouble controlling. Later that day during scene work, he was much more calm and in control of his work.

I see inspiring little moments like these to jot down in my wonderful journal (thanks Liz) and I do believe that I will look back on read on my thoughts from this summer for many years. It truly is a life-changing experience, and has made me gravely aware of the realities of pursuing acting professionally, and what it will take. I will use this weekday post as an opportunity to sit down on the weekend and journal again. That's all for now. Here are some pictures of the people I spend my day with.
I can't figure out how to upload pictures right now, so I will try to have some later on.


1 comment:

  1. I like the anecdotes and love the glimpse into your everyday life. Thanks.