Drought

As you may have noticed I am particularly extreme when it comes to titles.

The past two lessons I feel like represent the journey of production if not ultimately really closely. This journey is a unique one. For me, it all started with insecurities, which with faith transformed into passion and excitement for what was to come. But after a few weeks of research and investigation, I started losing my enthusiasm. And now a day before the performance I feel stuck. Uninspired. I still feel there’s a lot that could improve.

For me, it all started with insecurities, which with faith transformed into passion and excitement for what was to come. But after a few weeks of research and investigation, I started losing my enthusiasm. And now a day before the performance I feel stuck. Uninspired. I still feel there’s a lot that could improve. There’s a drought. 

But that’s natural. It really is. It happens to everyone. It has happened before and it will probably happen again. The importance lies on how you escape this rabbit hole. How you change your perspective and start creating again. I guess I should relax and do as I feel not put too much pressure into it and feel comfortable in my characters skin.

I’ll definitely update you on tomorrow’s news.
Wish me luck!  

 

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Music Video

I took part in a Music Video. Well, it may not be as impressive as you may think.

So this is how it happened. For our theatre class this noon, Kate wanted us to create a music video. To create one you, first of all, need music and dancing/moving, but since we’re in a theatre class we decided to leave the singing to Solange. Basically, (I am going to ruin it for you) we just put the music video on, started dancing while Kate’s phone was recording us.

This is the first time I’ve heard this song, but I really liked its rhythm.  Through this small dancing session, I had lots of fun, because I felt relaxed and free, but also a connection with all of the other classmates. All in all, this was a nice way to unwind from all of the tension and stress of IB.

But right after that, the work and rehearsals continued. As we’re preparing for our monologue performance everyone is getting more and more engaged in their work, including me. As the perfectionist, I am I want to make sure that every small detail is perfect. From the costume, staging and lighting to the actual performance itself I want to ensure that this monologue performance reaches the maximum of its potential. No matter if it’s a new thing for me to create a performance all by myself, I still want to impress myself with the final result.

(But since it is not just about the final product, but the journey to get there, I need to tell you how overwhelmed I feel with all the knowledge and new skills I am acquiring.)

Reflection

Descriptive writing;
Write an objective description of a significant theatre experience in your life. Avoid any reflection or emotion and simply present the facts. Write in the third person and do not give any indication of the significance of the experience.

In second grade, Konstantina was assigned the role of “Paplomatou”, the lead role in her school’s play. It was her first time taking such a role.

Personal writing;
Start again. Write a description of the same significant theatre experience, but this time write it in the first person, as a personal experience. Explain your thoughts and feelings.

In second grade, for our school’s play I was Paplomatou. Paplomatou was the lead role and it was really important for me. This was the first time I actually got to perform, be in the spotlight, experience theatre and the pressure and anxiety behind a theatre production. From having to learn my lines (more than anyone else’s), to acting for hours in front of the parents this was a new, but ,memorable experience for me.

Reflective writing;
Start again. Write about the significance of the theatre experience and the impact it has had on your work, your approaches and your perspectives. Describe only what is necessary to illustrate its significance. Write in the first person.  

The first time is always significant. And the same applies to theatre. My first lead role, my first actual responsibility had a lot of teachings for me.
It all started from second grade, but for the first time to experience such a moment, its lessons followed me up to today. Just like the first lesson you have in school; the first letters and words you learn those first days, they will be the ones structuring your essays and statements, later on, helping you on your literate journey . That also happened to me. The tricks to memorising the script, the hard work and patience it takes to  work with others,the courage it takes to take on such a responsibility and the strength to actually perform in front of everyone have stuck with me today and helped me with my journey in theatre.

Rehearsal(Short)

Today. Productivity.

This lesson was basically us rehearsing.
It was quite productive considering that all of my research and investigation could now take a form and transform into action. The animal that we had to link to our character, their childhood, environment, society, everything played a significant role and now it was time for us to actually start the rehearsal.

Starting from the monologue itself, I figured how my facial expressions and posture should adopt to the new discoveries. Then I got into the details by seeing how to link the monologue with what happened right before that, how does my character feel, react and walk into the scene. This all was important for me to actually see progress and feel encouraged to work on the task more. Also, I got to talk to Kate, get feedback and reassure myself on the choices I had already made.

-Konstantina

Animals

 

That was the main theme of today’s class. Animals. What does this have to do with our monologues? You’ll see!

We started the lesson by dancing “in a structured way” as Kate suggested and then we were organised in pairs. After that we were supposed to imitate mice, well actually embody them in search for cheese while also communicating with our partner. This act as it was evolving included Kate as the cat that we had to run away from. As painful as it may have been walking around with our knees, this activity was extremely fun to play around with. It was different but in a good way.

After that, we were expected to transform into humans while keeping the mice/rat characteristics. Now I was walking, but faster, talking, but in a higher pitch. This was actually really useful when it comes to teaching us how to adopt the animal characteristics into the real person.

This was the underlying theme today. How to transform into your character by looking into the behaviour of animals.

“An animal’s physicality makes demands on the human body that an actor could never invent.”

 

After watching this video, we explored our monologue’s characters by doing the same thing. Firstly, we started off with acting out the animals and then we performed as our characters with the animalistic behaviour and characteristics. It was really hard to recreate our own characters. But this way, we were able to understand and explore their personalities more into depth.

 

 

Character Soiree

Yesterday was a special day for IB theatre in UWC Changshu.
Starting from the morning, the day was special because of the fact that sadly enough there was no class for HL students. No matter how many times Kate repeatedly informed us about it, there were still some naive and careless of us who still went to class and last minute recalled about this change.
The reason why, though, is even more special. For this day, there was a character dinner planned. Character dinner? Well, it’s basically an acting exercise that takes place in the canteen. The participants of this exercise are all the theatre students and their assignment was one; to act and interact as if they were their character. For me, it was harder than I realised. To be able to act as your character in this scene, you have to have an in-depth understanding of your character and his interactions with his environment. Also, another obstacle I faced was that I didn’t prioritise my character’s wills beforehand. To be more exact, Sonya is such a versatile person, facing multiple difficulties. This makes it hard for me to choose  the most dominant characteristic of hers but also her main purpose and desire.

And now the fun begins. The soiree. The soiree was held at Kate’s house and it was an improved version of the character dinner. Even though I came in late, I still got to experience the entire atmosphere. The food was delicious, the concept entertaining and everything was going well. This time, it was less challenging for me. The challenges I faced during dinner were gone now, and what was left was for me to enjoy myself and explore my character more. I started realising that as a house-keeper Sonya would understand the struggle of maintaining a household, so she would be willing to help whenever she got the chance. And that’s what I did. I started doing the dishes! This way not only did I embodied my character, but I also helped Kate as well.

This day was the best day for theatre.

REALISM in 30″

As the second step (with the first being choosing and memorizing) towards our monologue performance, Kate introduced us to Realism.

Whether you like to call it Realism or Naturalism (for difference reference here) this style can be explained briefly, if you don’t want to spend your academic career analyzing it, in three points.

Objectives:

  1. People want things; they act/ take actions to get what they want.
  2. People use a variety of different tactics to get what they want.
  3. Desires and tactics change when obstacles are presented.

After that, we did an exercise where we had to basically cause change. By that, I mean that we were paired with a random person and had to use two chairs, one chair per person, with which we should create a reaction. By being unpredictable or too predictable even, by terrifying the other, by dissing him, or even creeping on him each one of us tried to get his pair to change.

Afterward, we were asked to reflect on our techniques of achieving the required result. I realized that the technique I was using was to make my partner (Malene) feel inferior.
Example: MY MOVEMENT->HER SITTING ON THE FLOOR WITH HER HEAD DOWN AS IF SHE DOESN’T NOTICE ME->ME PRETENDING TO BE JESUS OR GOD NY TAKING AS A FACT THAT SHE IS PRAYING.

Lastly, we were again paired but with different people for the last activity of the day. For this one, we were only allowed to say one phrase for one person this was Leave Me Alone and for the other one (me) Let’s Go. Zahra and I within this short time explored different versions of this interaction. Some of our interactions, in the beginning, took for granted that Leave Me Alone implied that the person saying that actually wanted attention, but this slowly developed into an outburst for help.
It was and still is interesting to see the different forms that the same words can take depending on the context.

-Konstantina

You Know You Love Style

 

Today we performed the blend. What is the blend?
Preparations started less than a week ago. Groups of four from our theatre class started working intensively on this project.

The project? Narcissus. We were assigned to perform, direct and script the entire myth of Narcissus. This is an ancient Greek myth, which describes the story of Narcissus, a handsome hunter. One day, as he was walking in the forest he encountered Echo. Echo immediately fell in love with him, but she could never express it. She could only repeat his words. Narcissus, on the other hand, remained ignorant and went closer to the lake. There, he saw his reflection on the water for the first time. He was captivated. Never before he had ever seen such beauty. He couldn’t walk away. He stayed there as long as he could looking at his reflection until death came for him at the bank of the lake. His place took a flower which was named after him.

It all started one sunny afternoon, during Kate’s theatre class, where the magic begins. We were then assigned to interpret the myth, Gossip Girl style. Before that, we were assigned to groups of 3 or 4. So now three of us were to make this happen,  to bring it to reality,  but to, first of all, create this.

Setting off by searching and understanding, we were all committed. Committed to seeing it finally happening. As one of our group members, Shirley, was not familiar with the TV show, it was Benedikte’s and my obligation to introduce the elite society of Upper East Side of Manhattan through teenager’s eyes. Even though it didn’t take long it was really important for us as a group to have the same level of understanding.

Next was brainstorming, actually exploring the task and creating what we wanted to perform. Many ideas were floating by, but only a few made the cut. We agreed on having three scenes or actually three different time point to distinguish the flow of events.

1st Scene: Starting of with Gossip Girl’s distinct phrases and words we hoped to give the idea to the audience of an elite, closed society where gossip and drama are part of their lifestyle. One person being Gossip Girl describes the high-class event but also gives the audience the impression that two different class characters are about to encounter. But the rest is all up to the two performers, one portraying Narcissus and the other, Echo. Echo, in this scene, comes across the magnificent beauty  of Narcissus. Taken away as she is by him she can’t keep her sight away from his figure. The presence of Narcissus is piercing and dominant as he is overpowered by confidence. Throughout the scene the contrast between Narcissus feeling at his element and Echo feeling left out is distinct.

2nd Scene: This scene plays the most significant role in understanding the plot. Here we describe the first encounter of the two main actors. Taking place at Bergdorf’s, one of New York’s finest and expensive boutiques we see Narcissus shopping and Echo working before they realize each other’s presence. Narcissus doesn’t take long to realize that Echo has been staring at him. And now the break happens by a single phrase repeated twice. “What are you doing?” “What are you doing?”.As none of the characters has spoken before, this is the first time for them to produce sound, breaking the expectation of the audience. The scene ending is filled with tension as we now know that Echo’s desire will never be fulfilled.

3rd Scene: As our last scene was supposed to imply the morbid death of Narcissus we decided to go with something more dramatic and intense. In our last scene, we focused mostly on physical theatre. By having two Narcissus’ and an imaginative mirror between them we wanted to show how he was being affected by the “narcissistic” behavior he was developing. On the one side having the overly confident Narcissus over-enjoying the pleasure of admiring himself, but on the other having the dying Narcissus being destroyed as his other self is more and more drawn to his beauty. The ending is powerful with both actors falling on the floor, one suddenly (confident Narcissus) and one slowly (dying Narcissus).

Failure
We failed. Our performance on stage was not up to our expectations.What is it to blame? For me the lack of confidence and discipline. I have never faced this before and I felt devastated when I realised what happened.How could I let this happen? In the end, I guess everything is a lesson. A lesson to make you better for the future. So I will take this failure and turn it into a teaching for future performances.

Now enough about our own performance. Since everyone else prepared the myth with a different style I found really interesting the contrast between each style. From this ”assignment” I realised how important style is to define a play. Style is everything. Even though we had the same exact plot, the same exact story, same amount of people, same exact stage, (do I need to go on forever?), the style made each performance piece individual, unique, different.

The styles were 5.

  • Starting from Brecht‘s style as the first one that performed on stage, the performance was more descriptive, giving more information due to the written messages. I’d say this was a coalescence of writing and acting.
  • Next on was ours. Gossip Girl was a modern approach to the ancient myth by making connections to the way an elite society works.
  • If my memory doesn’t fail me, afterwards, we witnessed the style of Mime. The interpretation made the performance comedic. Since they were not allowed to use voice as a mean to communication, their movements were far more intense and their acres elongated, exaggerating every concept.
  • Ritual. Ritual theatre reasoned everything by references to God. Traditional approaches to God were used to justify what was happening.
  • Last was Physical theatre. In this particular style, the statements were made by movements. They used their own bodies to create meaning and the connection between the performers to conceive the reality between the two characters.