Sunday, September 11, 2011

MFA Acting Week 2 Redux

HOW have three full weeks already passed? I'm a bit behind- here's a week 2 recap! 

Monday 9/5 
No Classes

Tuesday 9/6
Voice- We focused on the anatomy of the vocal mechanism and had a discussion on the components of an effective vocal warmup and its purpose- to free the instrument and facilitate effective breathing and emotional connection, allowing access to a free, responsible, authentic and connected voice. 
Speech- Consonants! Wahoo! We learned all 26 consonant sounds, where they're made in the mouth, what type of sound they are (stop-plosive, fricative, glide, affricate, nasal or lateral) and the corresponding script and print IPA symbols. 

Wednesday 9/7
Movement- In addition to our continued exploration of the foundation of the Alexander Technique, we did an exercise to discover the true locations of our joints (vs. where we perceive our joints to be). We were asked by our teacher to observe our repertoire of movement patterns without judgment.  
Acting- We shared our experiences from our sensory observation assignment and then did a simple improv exercise. Person A sat on stage while person B left the room. B returned with a relationship and objective, and A was only allowed to respond to B's words and behavior- A was not allowed to contribute any new information. It was interesting to explore simply listening and being affected. 

Thursday 9/8
Voice- We brought our monologues in to workshop from a vocal perspective. My classical piece from Sophocles' Electra is a powerful and emotional piece- unfortunately I have a tendency of holding vocally in heightened situations- releasing this completely changed my monologue in a wonderful way. We also had a short discussion on the idea that nothing in an actor is compartmentalized- it is impossible to allow disconnect and a lack of integration in our training- everything is related (voice, breath, physicality, emotion...). 
Speech- Speech is an essence of identity and is not something training will or should change about someone. We train our speech to be able to make a choice- we increase our range and sharpen our instrument to be able to meet the demands of the text when we are called upon to do so, but there is truly no right or wrong way to speak as an individual, there are only shades of effectiveness- did it work? Did my audience believe me? We also discussed the power of certain sounds found in the English language and the impact they have on the listener. 
Kinetics- This class focused on the elements of the theatre visual, including line, form, mass, color, texture and space. We did some exciting exercises exploring the manipulation of a shape (our bodies) to evoke different reactions in ourselves and our audiences. 

This week was special because in addition to our classes, we had prep (Friday), auditions (Saturday) and callbacks (Sunday) for Eurydice- one of the fall productions that needed to add a few castmembers. (Brooklyn College tries not to cast MFA Actors in their first semester so that we have an opportunity to acclimate- fall shows are usually cast in the spring and then filled in with new students.)

Relaxing on campus with classmates Andrea and Sarah after auditions. 

I also had the opportunity to see an absolutely stunning production of The Little Mermaid by the Glass Bandits Theatre Company in McCarren Park with my classmates Aaron, Patrick, Jeremy and Jeremy's wife Laura. The puppet work was flawless, the a capella vocals were haunting and the piece moved swiftly- every detail was simply and perfectly attended to. And it was free. Awesome!

Stay tuned for Week 3's recap!

In case you missed it, check out Week 1 here