November 21, 2005
"Putting It All Together"
First of all, I don't know if this is how I was supposed to post, and I have not seen anyone else's entry to clue me in, so this is just how I am going to do it!
I was thinking that this posting was going to be one of the longest ones so far, but the more I've thought about it, what I have to say regarding pulling together all the techniques we've sampled is pretty basic. For me, the thing I've taken away from each of the methods we've dabbled in is that being aware is of paramount importance. "Being aware" means something different depending on which technique you're using, what kind of exercises you're doing, and so on. Where is your voice's most powerful place, and where is its weakest? What does your body do when faced with a certain situation, and what feels totally alien in that same situation? What assumptions and biases do you hold, such that you would never have seen, felt, or realized a thing without it being made explicit? What are getting from other actors, and how can you best use whatever it is you are getting? What feels comfortable or exilarating to you, and what feels risky or undoable? Why?
I wish we would have had more time to spend on each of the techniques we sampled, because I feel like I need more exposure to all of them to really decide what works for me and what doesn't. I know I got a lot from the clowning work we did, and I think I would really benefit from doing more voice work as well. I like the various things we did that required me to take at least some small risk, to really offer myself up and to be aware of how this made me feel.
October 31, 2005
I have never really understood classical theratre. I saw a Romeo and Juliet play once but the only reason why I enjoyed it was because I knew the story. The language is always a bit too complex for me, I feel like its too much to process within such little time frame. If I read the "language" I am more likely to understand it rather than watching characters play a part out that I never heard about. I think all classical plays are interesting and I would be so glad if I can learn more about understanding the concepts of it.
October 30, 2005
Post assignment due Monday October 31 by 10pm
For this week's post, write about your thoughts and experiences regarding classical theater, both theater you may have seen (such as Shakespeare) and how you feel about performing classical text. Remember, there are no "right" answers - everyone has a different take on classical theater, so use this space to express yours.
October 24, 2005
It was so refreshing to have Jon Ferguson in our class. I really enjoyed every aspect he presented. Usually, I am afraid of making a clown of myself but the techniques he showed us allow me to explore my goofy side of acting which I found really comfortable. He showed us how to engage the audience and how being silly and childish is not always within the borderline of acting.
I think the thing I would incorporate more when acting (traditionally) is looking at the audience after screwing up a line, the other essential thing is to be repetitive when the audience finds something funny and have them engage every step of the way.
I think that these techniques would work great on stage when mistakes are being made. This way actors get to work and make something of their mistakes which could only trigger growth.
October 23, 2005
Post assignment due Monday 10/24 by 10pm
For this week's posting, reflect on the clown work we did with Jon Ferguson last week. If you saw Jon's show "Please Don't Blow Up Mr. Boban," discuss what elements of clowning from class you saw in the show. Whether or not you saw the show, discuss how you think this clowning work might be applied to "traditional" acting.
October 9, 2005
Instructions for posting due Wednesday 10/12 by 10pm
This week's posting is on status. If you are confused about what I mean by "status," Tuesday's class should help clear that up. The Keith Johnstone reading also describes status - Johnstone describes the difference between "high status" behavior and "low status" behavior. The key point to remember is that power does not only reside in high status - "playing low status" can be a way to get power as well (think of, for example, the class clown who was popular because of his/her low status behaviors, or on a more extreme note, the prisoner of war who stays alive by always playing low status to the guards - avoiding eye contact, saying "yes sir" and so on).
For this week's posting, then, comment on two things: other people's status behavior that you observe, and your own.
Some suggestions: Look around you at groups of people and see if you can observe the status behaviors in these groups (looking at a group of friends or business associates at a table in a restaurant is a great way to do this). See if you can observe how people play high or low status, how and when their status shifts (if the boss suddenly shows up, for example), and think about how you play high and low status in your life. We all play BOTH high and low status at different times (for instance, we tend to go low when with a boss or a professor, and high when with a younger sibling or a younger friend); most people, however, favor either high or low status behavior. Are you clearly more high status or more low status in your behavior? How does playing high status and/or low status help you in your interactions with other people?
October 6, 2005
I noticed that when I walk my head is somewhat lowered usually, sometimes it's almost to the point where I am looking at the ground. I always tend to walk fast usually with my hands stretched down by my side or in my sweater pockets (depending on the weather!). On some other occassions I would also tend to have a small bounce to my step I think it usually depends on the emotion I am feeling...When I jog I noticed that my shoulders is always straight up and always feel less tensed, my hands is folded half way with my fingers loosely closed and I tend to have my head up higher and more aware of my surrounding.
When I sit I sometimes tend to slouch a little. I also tend to move alot, I cannot be in one place and one position for a long time. Most of the time I would sit with my foot crossed and with my arms either folded or resting on my legs. I think that's because of the protection thing we discussed in class. when I stand I sometimes stand straight up with my chest out and arms straight by the side but usually I would find my self standing with all of my weight resting on one side of my body, one hand is usually folded or in my pants back pockets or holding the straps of the bag on my shoulder.
When it comes to eye contact, I am not comfortable with it at all. I don't know why I have a problem with it, maybe its because I am so protective and private I don't want anyone to see into my soul or visa versa.
The way I portray my self to the world would mostly depend on the day I am having but most of the time I would think that I am displaying my self as poised and confident but sometimes I would also tend to look more intimidated and less aware of my surroundings...even though it's not entirely true.
October 2, 2005
Instructions for blog due Wednesday 10/5 by 10pm
For this week's blog, notice your physical movements. How do you walk? Run? Laugh? Turn? Sit? Do you cross your legs? Do you hold your head forward, or up? Do you fold your hands or arms; do you move your hands or arms around while speaking? Do you slump? Stand straight? Touch your hair? Cover your mouth? Do you make eye contact easily? What might these movement styles convey to the world? How do they serve or inhibit you?
September 26, 2005
My voice varies with the people around me. For example, when I am with my family and friends it tend to be more low pitched, loud, expressive and I tend to talk alot. My voice would feel more relaxed and like it's coming from my stomach however, when I am around new people or even in class, my voice would tend to be more quiet and pressured and it would feel as if it's coming from the upper part of my throat. If I talk for too long it would tend to break up and I would sound almost hoarsed.
If I am around people and I started crying, my throat would feel very pressured, as if there is a huge lump stuck there. If I try to speak in that situation it would come out as either very quiet, almost where you can barely hear what I am saying or very high pitched almost where I could barely understand what I am saying!
When I am angry it would sound more strong, bold, very harsh and very persuasive for some reason. It would feel like it's coming out of my chest and as I keep talking the speed of my speech would tend to increase.
If I am nervous my voice would sound normal but there would be constant interruption of nervous laughter which usually makes me sound "squeeky."
And if I try to "damage" (sing) the lyrics of any song my voice would come from my throat and by the time I finished the song I would be singing from my nose...or at least that's where I feel its coming from.
When I am around people I know speaking naturally is very easy for me but in different situations where there is sort of a spot light pointed at me, I would feel so pressured that I would force myself to "croak" words that sometime don't even make sense! But mostly it all boils down to the state of emotion I am in and the situation at present.
September 22, 2005
Instructions & Sample Blog due by 10pm 9/26
For this week's posting, pay attention to your voice. Read the Kristen Linklater "Freeing the Natural Voice" handout and consider ways in which you restrain, or hold back, your natural voice ("natural" in the sense that Linklater uses the term: namely, the full expressive voice you had when you were an infant). Some examples: When you cry, does your throat tighten? When you talk, do you talk through your nose? Is your voice in your throat (if you get hoarse often this is probably the case)? Do you have a deep booming chest voice? Do you have a quiet voice (do you have trouble being heard by people in large groups?)? Is your voice raspy? Breathy? Do you speak in a monotone? Do you mumble? What happens to your voice in states of high emotion (grief, anger, joy)?
Here is a sample entry:
When I speak, my voice often starts deep in my chest, but if I'm nervous it will move up into my nose and I'll talk in a higher, nasal voice. I often get hoarse if I talk for a long time, or if I'm trying to talk loudly or shout. If I'm around other people when I start to cry, my chest hurts and my throat tightens and I find it hard to talk; if I do talk while crying, my voice is really high-pitched and breathy. I find it really hard to talk when I'm angry; my throat closes up and sometimes even hurts. Once or twice in my life I've started talking while I was angry, and my voice was at such a deep pitch and shaking so much that I didn't recognize it. Generally, in states of high emotion like grief and anger my throat closes and I get hoarse really fast. When I'm extremely happy my voice gets higher-pitched and louder.