Monday, September 5, 2011

MFA Acting- Week One Recap

It's here! It's happening! Wait- WHAT? We already finished our first week? Wow. That was fast.

The Brooklyn College MFA Acting Class of 2013- from L to R- Patrick, Jeremy, Jonny, Aaron, myself, Andrea and Sarah. 

As I've said many, many times before, I'm so thrilled, honored and humbled to be here. My classmates are talented, dedicated and very unique. My professors are passionate about their work and committed to our development as performers. The program focuses on our individual development and growth as unique artists with unique voices. 

Week two begins tomorrow! Insane! Here's an incredibly un-detailed and oversimplified recap of week one- hopefully I'll have time to share more specifics in the coming weeks!

We've begun to study the voice from both an anatomical and a holistic viewpoint. We're starting to learn what components in the body are used to create vocal sounds, what the role of the voice is in an actor's craft and the incredible importance of the breath in vocal production. 

-Actors need discipline to be free. 
-We are our instruments. 
-Our voices are our most intimate expressions of ourselves.

Diction and Dialect
In this course we've begun breaking down what speech is- the use of specific sounds, pitch, inflection and emphasis which we use to communicate. We've begun to develop a warmup which engages all the physical components of speech including our tongues, lips, jaws, soft palates, faces, etc. 

-There is no one proper way to speak, except clearly and effectively. 

Movement/Alexander Technique
Our first class focused a lot on becoming aware of and being present with our bodies while moving. We had the opportunity to move organically while telling a story and then were asked to follow someone else's movements while telling the same story- it was interesting to experience and study a foreign movement pattern while telling a familiar story. 

-Can you observe yourself without judgement?

Much of our discussion centered around the idea of of being curious and aware but existing comfortably without answers- it's ok to not always know why or how something is in this exact moment, so long as we're aware. We also spoke about the intimate and vulnerable sides of acting, and how important these things are to creativity. Lastly, we focused our attention on a performer's energy and how vital it is to the work we do. 

-The only way you can create is to be open to the energy of other actors. 
-Let yourself be without answers.

Kinetics/ Analysis
Our first class was focused on the idea of the theatre as a living art- the audience is present for both the inspiration and the creation as they exist in live time. 

-The theatre is a place for seeing, an auditorium is a place for hearing, and acting is the doing of a deed (which is where kinetics come into play). 

 Updates/ Thoughts yet to come- the hurricane and Labor Day have cancelled two Mondays in a row, so we've not yet had an improv class.