Work continues as we head into our second week.
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Students are formulating stories into plays. From the assigned newspaper stories, they have found the essential parts of character that they have put into play. In Mary Robinson's workshop students have created characters that are now speaking with each other, finding relationship, space and time. Groups have assigned "Third Eyes" who can help to shape the work. Actors are going more deeply into the people they are creating, writers are giving over words and allowing instinct to drive and the directors are pulling back with that combination of object and subjectivity that allows them to help create the spin that brings all elements together.
As writers, students have had their first assignment. They have created monologues with characters taking action, characters with strong wants and needs. They have been asked now to take these direct address to the audience pieces and marble them with response... to find the give and take involved in the need to make oneself heard. From this active impulse they are bringing together callers and responders and finding out who needs to speak to whom and how. This is gutsy work, especially for actors who have never ventured into writing but, the impulse of actors and writers is the same. Find what the charater wants and take action to get it, then find the obstacle and move as deeply and passionately as you can toward your goal.
In our introductory exercises we worked with activating the senses-- sight, smell,taste, sound, touch-- and to keep them engaged so that the monologues had a visceral sense of the present. Now, the scenes are translating with those elements we hope! It's exciting to see what company members are coming up with.
Yesterday Playwright Gina Barnett brought her play SCREAM to the Rep Workshop. For many, it was the first time they have been asked to cold read an entire script, making eye contact with those around them and trying to find the spark to the scene instinctively by allowing their attention to move off of their own process and into engagement with their fellow actors.
Scenes from George Bernard Shaw have been assigned. Pygmalion in acting class. For many, this is the first exposure to the story---um, hard to believe that cultural reference moves so quickly.. but... actors will speak the words of a master and recognize how the words inform their contemporary work. Here's a link to Virginia Woolf talking about words and their power. It is pretty extraordinary.
And, this afternoon Billy Hopkins, casting director of such films as WALL STREET and FATAL ATTRACTION and more recently, PRECIOUS, came and spoke to our company about his work as a director, father and professional. His generosity of spirit translated to the company members who received a realistic and practical look at the work of professional actors, producers, directors and casting folk.
Members are settling themselves into the work and allowing the work to settle into them. So far so good...
so far some bells are going off..
and we have just begun.