Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Two down, one to go.

This week started with Erik, and a rehearsal for our as-yet-unnamed duo.

Jill had given us an assignment—a positive-fixation exercise—which worked incredibly well to help us get at characters who actually like each other. Along with some mirror-your-partner's-character scenes, we used it to continue working on grounded characters. As we work together more, we're starting to see some patterns/bits/habits/outs to work around; my take is that they mostly tend to be defense mechanisms. When characters get to the point where something interesting might happen—you know, they might have to reveal something or be vulnerable—we have our go-to devices to lower the stakes.

So it's time to bring in a coach. We're 95% comfortable with each other (if we were 100% there, there'd be no stake-lowering) and we know the basics of what we want to do with our show. Now it's time to start crafting it into something performance-ready. I'll admit, I'm going to kind of miss the pure exploration; without a show scheduled or a director involved or any kind of results-orientation, we've been able to just play. Which, not surprisingly, is kinda fun.

Rehearsal #2: Exit 16. After a lackluster show and a great rehearsal (thanks again to Jill), four of the 10 kids played a ridiculously solid show at the Corbin last Saturday. A 90-minute show by four kids could be a scary thing, but they were fired up and ready and playing in front of a friendly crowd. They used everything we worked in rehearsal, hit the stage with huge energy and sustained it for the whole show.

Tonight we worked on some new games: Character swap and Evil Twin. We played three versions of Character Swap:
  1. Girls in one line, boys in another—everyone takes turns continuing the scene in the same character
  2. Two teams of four, swapping out all at once to continue the same thing
  3. Same as #2, but with a Talk In Turn adjustment (they could only talk in a pre-determined order) to help focus
Notes from the session:
  • Make your character distinct enough that someone else can take it on
  • Add new information with every switch
  • Heighten the emotional connections/interactions/reactions with every switch
  • Watch details—environment, character traits, dialogue
Evil Twin was interesting because I've never seen, coached or played it. It's always interesting to try to figure out the games within a game in rehearsal—and learning to coach it while the kids played it adds a twist. They count on me to know what to say, so I have to adjust their expectations when I'm figuring it out with them.

Rehearsal #3: I'll be taking Tantrum through the same stuff we did with Exit 16 last week. As much as it'll suck to (mostly) not play, it should be a whole lot of fun. Every now and then, I'm just fine with stepping out of player mode and just being the coach.


  1. It will be nice to go back into player mode for a rehearsal. Thanks for taking that on tonight - it's appreciated.

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  3. I have a terribly hard time playing the good twin in Evil Twin. It is just so hard for me to stay connected while I am trying to figure out WHY every awful thing that's happening is good. I do evil fine tho. :P

  4. Julie: The version we played had two evil twins—one for each person in the scene. Our biggest struggle was being entirely vulnerable when playing the good twin—allowing the other evil twin to affect you so the other good twin would have a "mess" to clean up.


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