Acting and Production 1

Wikispace journal of Georgia Baker

Week 1

Lecture response: Having studied drama at high school on a TEE level, I had heard of most of the theatre visionaries mentioned in this weeks lecture, if only in a very superficial way. Our focus in high school was mainly on Stanislavski, Artaud, Brecht, Grotowski and Becket, however, so I'm looking forward to hearing more about other influential dramatists. It seems like something of a tragedy that I've heard next to nothing about Viola Spolin, for example, as it sounds as though her work with directing techniques may be the one I'm most familiar with.

Tutorial response: Again, having studied drama in high school I'm familiar with the kinds of space building exercises we did in our tutorial. It's always interesting, however, to see how a new group handles them. Filling the space requires quite a lot of awareness of your group and in my experience usually works best with groups that are already comfortable with one another. Despite it being a large group of mostly strangers I think the exercise went well. I suppose that's the difference between a group of high schoolers and a group of university students. I did hear some people question the relevance of the exercise but I'm sure it won't take long for people to realise the necessity of awareness of space. I think that after a few rehearsals a cast should be able to get to their blocking blindfolded, since actors frequently need to move in the dark when lights are down between scenes. If they aren't aware of the space it's just asking for trouble. Nothing quite breaks the fourth wall like actors running into one another.

Appropriately, the second part of the tutorial was leading and being led around the space with closed eyes. This was about trusting other actors not to do you harm, and it was really quite nerve wracking. My partner didn't walk me into anything or anyone, but someone else let their lead-ee walk into me, so I'm not hugely full of trust at this point. Hopefully this trust will be built over time.

The last part of the workshop had us hold still whilst a partner ran at us, again partly to build trust. It was also about reacting and filling space with our voices, invoking reactions with our voices, but I was rather distracted by the fact that my partner plowed into me every goddamn time. It's very hard to trust that your fellow actors aren't going to knock you over when your fellow actor actually does knock you over three times.

Week 2

Our vocal warm ups were very familiar to me, as they were almost identical to ones I've done throughout high school and children's theatre as a kid. It's been some years since I've done any kinds of vocal warm up however, and it was good to use those muscles again. I'd never done the resonance exercises before, however, and it was really very interesting to be able to feel the resonance against the wall. You can always feel yourself project in your stomach, and often in your lips, but feeling that resonance in my ears as well just showed the power in voices, and how powerful those voices have to be.

Stanislavski and his techniques are also old friends at this point, and it was hugely freeing to use those acting muscles again. Our exercise in renaming objects to be something they weren't was quite challenging, but it raised a hugely useful idea; we must approach everyone on stage as something they are not. It wasn't something I'd given a great deal of thought to in the past, but it's an absolute truth for any actor. It's all well and good to know who your character is, and become them, but if you're reacting to your fellow actor rather than the character they're playing the point is moot.

Week 3

I missed most of this weeks tutorial due to my dislocated shoulder and the resulting codeine high, but I do vaguely remember the other members of the class performing Kiss My Hands. I found it interesting that there were so many different interpretations of the same text.\

Week 4

I've never been a huge fan of Theatre of Cruelty, though I've done quite a lot of study on it. I've always found it lends itself too easily to preachy and unsubtle theatre.

I really enjoyed the Yes/No activity we performed in class. I thought it would be fairly difficult but after watching the first pair perform it all seemed to click into place. The amount that can be conveyed in tone and gesture is remarkable, and this exercise really highlighted that for me. When it was my turn I tried to portray defensive anger covering guilt, but I'm not really sure how well it came across.

Excellent work so far...BUT I need to read more...especially about how what we do in theory affects your personal style/approach of acting.

AAAAHHHH...Georgia, you're driving me to drink!!! What's happened? Let's know if there is a problem.
Grade: P