Yesterday, I discussed my hateful and disturbing statement of “Or Not.” Today I explore my second more annoying statement, “That Says Something Interesting About You.” At this time of year one of the most resonating questions I hear from my actors is centered on whether they should go to college, pursue theatre in college, be part of a BA program, or audition for a BFA program in Acting. With the most caring and sincere of intentions they dog me down for my answer – (as if I did, indeed, have an answer). To help them find some resolution, I ask them to look at the evidence – – evidence from their own world.
If you have been a student to do all you can to miss classes, skip class, and wish classes away with your word and deed – then perhaps the universe is questioning whether you should be pursuing college. Your class skipping ways do NOT need to punished or even reprimanded; they need to be heard. They are the most valuable clues you will ever have. Why would you want to go on to MORE school when you didn’t like the SCHOOL you have been at? That does say something interesting about you! Read more
I have two lines that I LOVE to use to torment my Company. The first of these lines is, “That says something very interesting about you.” The second line and subject of today’s blog is, “Or not.” Here’s my thinking behind these maddening, seemingly worthless quips:
One of the challenges of any monologue is that you hit that wall. Everything was building and growing and then it just stopped. Now everything is understandable, clear, logical, and inhumanly dull, and, worse yet, predictable! The moment I can predict the next moment then the moment that we are currenly in falls flat. The only thing that makes the current moment of interest is the impossibility of knowing the next. How can the “right scene” become the “interesting scene”? How can “correct” become the “compelling”? How can the “safe” become the “dangerous”? One tool is “Or Not”.
One very sobering feature of teaching is to stand up on your soapbox and claim a Truth of Acting – only to have to eat or at least modify your words a few days later. You think by now I would have all of speeches, lined up and verified – – but not so . . Perhaps one reason that I keep coming back is that the flaws in my teaching appear every day – causing 22 years of re-writes. My advice to new teachers joining the profession, “Know that you will be wrong a lot, admit it freely to the class, and get back on that horse of teaching.” And now my advice for students, “Never trust a teacher who claims to KNOW what they are teaching – they should be questioning their knowledge every day to retirement.” Read more
Rule #1 of dramatic literature is that nothing on the stage is worth watching if it is not driven by conflict. Although conflict is the source of grief in our life, conflict is the bread and butter of the theatre. It is interesting in coaching scenes – – where well intentioned actors are trying to figure out why in the world things are not working – – they so quickly reach to an exotic varierty of soluitions. They consider pulling out a thesareus and grabbing some “fancier verbs” (although I really never viewed acting as a game of synonymous . . .) Read more
Plays are full of dysfunctional people. Plays attract dysfunctional characters like a moth to a flame. Much of our dramatic literature explores the nature of dysfunction – – how can a normal, healthy baby can be born as clean as a blank canvas and, in oh so few years, have their slate vandalized by untold miscreants. In fact, the moment the child’s canvas is marred, it becomes a free-for-all for poisonous words, spray paint, markers, and obscene stick figures that any passerby feels compelled to add. Read more