Sunday, September 18, 2011

MFA Acting Week 3

Monday 9/12

Today marked our first improv session and I can tell I am going to love it. This course will serve more as an opportunity to become acquainted with our own unique individual creative processes than to 'teach improv'. We discussed some of the personal obstacles we as actors encounter- doubting and denying impulses and fearing that we aren't enough (original enough, funny enough, clever enough, giving enough...). We often forget to stop and realize how much more energy we expend when we restrain ourselves and restrict our impulses, rather than allowing ourselves to be without judgement. Our professor used a beautiful analogy that resonated deeply with me- if we think of ourselves as houses, our experiences and emotions are stored in different rooms, some of which we allow free access to, others of which are locked and guarded. It's important that we know what is in each room of our house so that we can access and call upon the things that our work demands from us. 

Tuesday 9/13

We continued working on the production of consonant sounds and had a mini-group quiz. Everyone passed!

Wednesday 9/14

Our readings for this course gave us background information on the Alexander Technique, including how Alexander himself discovered the principles he would go on to teach. We discussed the startle response- the body's physiological and neurological pre-choreographed response to danger, and how this physically manifests in a species that is constantly living under stress. The righting reflex, which the body naturally does when the danger is removed, manifests in the head and neck leading the spine into length. We also began to discuss the cycle of awareness, inhibition and direction.

We did a facial mirroring exercise today where we sat across from a partner and conversed with them while taking on any facial manipulations we observed in them- raised eyebrows, wrinkled foreheads, etc. More than imitating, it required a release into our partner which necessitated working with ease. This allowed us to be more open when observing and being observed. We did some more improv work and discussed the impact that place has on our behavior.

Thursday 9/15

We had a double speech session today as our voice teacher is away working with the RSC. We continued work on our consonant sounds and then played with the power that different sounds have in different words.

Today we discussed the elements of the theatre auditory- sound, tempo, pitch, volume, stress and phrasing. We expiremented with this and then recapped all of the elements- kinetic, auditory and visual, through which we will analyze scenes and characters in the future. We finished up our abstract art/ movement exercise as we began to think of ourselves not only intellectually but also as physical entities with lines, forms, shapes, etc. As actors we are both the sculptor and the sculpture.