Thursday, March 25, 2010

Acting Class

I had a good acting class today.

My teacher began the class by talking about "feeling" in a scene. That just because the scene feels good doesn't necessarily make it so... and even if though as an actor, it doesn't feel good, it still might be perfectly strong.

The way my class works is that people go up, one at a time, to "audition" with the scene. The rest of the class sits in the "audience" and watches, except the person who's going next--they wait outside to prepare and stew, just like in a real audition. And as you watch, you pick up things: ideas of things to do, or not to do, new interpretations of the scene, or just a whole lot of self-doubt that what you're doing isn't what everyone else is doing, so it's probably wrong. It's fun like that.

So I wait outside for my audition, and I'm the second to last person to present the audition. This scene has, for some reason, not be the simplest to understand. The way the dialogue is written is a little random, and a fair number of people are struggling to make it work. I go up, having watched everyone else, and for the most part the changes they're making are things that I'd thought about. So I feel OK. I take note to make one adjustment. It was something I'd considered earlier, but never worked with, but I felt like it would be OK. I went in feeling pretty good and did the scene. It didn't feel great, but I knew that the work I'd done for it had, well, worked. (I tried a new technique in understanding the lines, and it helped me figure out which options were better and which were worse.)

He asked how I did, and I answered honestly that on a scale of 1-10, I'd give myself a 6. It didn't feel great. But he said he'd give me a much higher number. Yay!!!! That when I presented the scene, things made sense. He asked what I changed since watching everyone else, and I said that it was mostly all the same--just the one adjustment. I got a "good job." Considering how much this class terrifies me (sheesh Katherine, get over it!!), it made me very happy.

But that got me thinking about acting in general. I think part of the reason that this class scares me so much is that I'm never working with someone--not like you do in a show or in a scene class. I don't get to react to people when I rehearse, and it's hard to feed off the energy of the reader when you're auditioning--there's about 50 other things on your mind already. So I never go in presenting something that I feel really good about, even if I did work on it. I very rarely feel it. But if I can change my mentality to one focusing on solving the puzzle of the scene, it could make it more approachable.

I'm realizing that I enjoy scenes when it's about connecting the lines together. Solving the puzzle of the scene. I'm not a big fan of poetry, so I don't usually want to work on the stuff because it's a beautiful passage. I'm not a fan of reading Shakespeare for that very reason. But I've enjoyed the Shakespeare/classical work I've done (all three scenes of it, haha) because I enjoy figuring out how this point gets to this point gets to this point. And I've learned that if I can make it make sense to me, then it'll probably make sense to the audience. Moreso than it would otherwise.

Anyway, those were the thoughts that were rolling through my head on my walk from class to home. I'm not bragging, by any means--I'm just excited! And want to get these thoughts down before I forget. Now off for some food and more Alcestiad rehearsal. Let's see if I fare any better on the vibraphone than I did yesterday!

The Vibraphone:

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