Last Classes Before Christmas

As the title gave away, this is going to be dedicated to the last two classes before Christmas break.

With the Christmas spirit taking over, our last classes were reflective and sentimental.
In the first class, we were asked to write our deepest, darkest secret on a piece of paper and sit in two circles (one inside the other, so we would face one person from the other circle). In the beginning, we exchanged our secrets and after, we would say a statement about the other person that had to be absolutely objective (Example: You are wearing blue.). Then the pair would repeat the statement in different ways to alter the meaning (Example: You are wearing blue! You are wearing blue?). After a while, we would change the statement and experiment with different phrases. And then, we would switch partners, by the people forming the external circle moving 4 forward. The “secret” would now move to our new partner. Now, Kate told us to experiment with the phrase; You have my secret. My partner, Ali, from the tone of my voice, realised that I was expressing worry, so he tried to sound reassuring.
Afterwards, we had a group discussion sharing our feelings throughout the process. I felt worried about my secret because I was not in charge of it anymore and its fate was not in my hands. I did not know how people would react to it and if they would figure out it’s me. Especially during the last part, feeling what those words expressed made me have a deeper understanding of my “character” and how to express the lines in a truthful way. This overall activity made me realise the importance of relating your lines to a situation you have experienced and the accuracy of applying this technique.

In case you were wondering, the secrets were not revealed, but burnt down by Kate.

The second and last day was a bigger and longer group discussion about how we personally progressed and developed throughout the months of theatre classes. I talked about how I developed a clearer and more holistic view of what theatre is like. I experimented with different concepts and realised that theatre is so much more than acting. Acting is just a component, but to clearly project a message you need to stage and direct the performance accordingly. Others also shared about overcoming their fears and becoming more confident.

This was a delightful ending to our journey.

 

Till next time,
Konstantina
(all the way from Greece)

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DP2 Collaborative Performances

Yesterday I witnessed three DP2 Collaborative Performances which made me show appreciation on how a play is set up.

These past few months, we focused extensively on individual pieces which made me look at the collaborative projects with nostalgia. I really got to appreciate their work and acknowledge the effort that they put into putting together a small play.

The first play was about war and the impact of this on human relationships. It focused on how it encouraged humans to turn against each other for superficial reasons without focusing on the fact that they are all humans and in times of life or death they should support one another.The performance took place in the black box. What stuck with me was the way they used lighting and staging, including stylistic choices. They had a sheet, which they used to create the shadow of a man and show his detailed movements along with his captivating posture to create the atmosphere of war which includes uncertainty, huge consequences but small actions. Overall, the stage was a living room in which a lot of lights were placed to intensify the atmosphere. The actors all had costumes to give out their identity or characteristics of theirs. I was really impressed with the merit they showed.

The second performance was the most fitting for its context. It was a play abut the bonds and pressure within a family. They also touched on issues especially relevant to China, such as the pressure the parents put into their kids to follow a certain career and life path with choices they approve of. Even though their setting didn’t include any props, the way they placed themselves in the scene and the visual material they used to support that was impressive and captivating. What also stroke me was how the actors handled malfunctions caused by tech. They just remained still, without ruining the atmosphere or the sequence of events.

Lastly, the play I watched, at last, was about a comedic approach to regret and consciousness. They showed how a man changed his beliefs and became more conscious and kind. The most distinct thing about this performance piece was how an actor was playing multiple roles throughout the play. He went from playing the convicted innocent to a lazy prison guard. The play was really enjoyable because it was fast and fun to watch.

I seriously can’t wait for my turn to get involved in a collaborative project and myself explore different aspects of theatre.

-Kon

 

 

First monologue feedback

The prop works.
The walk seems rushed- let us be in the moment. Where are you walking and why would you blow out the candle before talking to your uncle? Unclear how your actions reflect the environment, work on consistency
Some of the ends of your sentences are lost due to the volume
We’ll rejoice and remember the sufferings- what are you trying to get? Do you want to enstill hope? How does this line then sound different? Hope should sound different than discussing the struggle and pain.
Caress pronunciation – see me about this
I believe that Uncle- do you really believe that? How does the tonality of your voice show this?
We’ll rest- repetition provides opportunities
 (First realism monologue performance feedback)

Character Analysis

This Character Analysis was completed a while ago, but it is complementary to other monologue related material, so I thought of it fit to be put here.

Each of the following areas must be addressed to better understand your character in order to make important acting choices. Sometimes the playwright will directly provide the information; more often than not the actor will need to search the text for clues to these areas. Use your imagination (and the information you’ve already collected) to answer each of the areas.

 

  1. Character Dissection

Write it in the first person, and follow the outline format below for your responses.

  1. Physical

Everything in this section should describe the outer side of the character, how they are seen and how they appear.

  1. Full Name Sofia Alexandrovna Serebryakov (Sonya)__________________
  2. Gender (male or female) Female__________________________________
  3. Age (exact, not approximate)20-30________________________________
  4. Posture (good, bad-describe)Good_______________________________
  5. Center (where does the character carry himself) Shoulders, Breast_____
  6. Strength (relative physical strength) No Significant Strength___________
  7. Health (the current state) Healthy_________________________________
  8. Coloring White________________________________________________
  9. Defects (scars, etc.) No Scars____________________________________
  10. Appearance (overall)Her clothing does not imply wealth or poverty either. Everything regarding her appearance implies a sence of normality taking into consideration the social standards in Russia at this time. Simple dress without any showing of overuse but showing that she does not do a labour work

______________________________________________________________

  1. Shape relatively in shape______________________________________
  2. Point of Vanity (what part of their body is the character most proud of)
    LEAST PROUD OF; FACE she is not pretty enough

MOST PROUD OF; HAIR AND EYES________________________________

  1. Pets (either one(s) you have or ones you’d like to have) Dog- always faithful

Good in terms of property protection__________________________________

  1. Social

Everything in this section should describe the life of the character in his/her community, how they have been prepared and how they function with others.

  1. Class (lower, middle, upper)Upper Middle Class_____________________
  2. Occupation (job/school)Keeping her father’s estate___________________
  3. Education (how many years in school, last grade completed)_____________
  4. Home Life (live alone, with others, married, quality of that existence)with others (ALEXANDER SEREBRAKOFF, HELENA, SONIA, IVAN (VANYA) VOITSKI, MICHAEL ASTROFF

______________________________________________________________

  1. I. Q. (not always indicated by education)High(Also Emotional Intelligence)
  2. Race (Caucasian, etc.)Caucasian__________________________________
  3. Nationality (countries descended from)Russia________________________
  4. Religion (either by birth or by choice)Christian Orthodox_________________
  5. Place in Community (status in society)high_________________________
  6. Politics (party affiliation or lack of interest)my guess:left______________
  7. Amusements (what sort of hobbies, activities interest the character?)hard work,running the estate,_________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________

  1. Psychological

Everything in this section should describe the inside of the character, how they see themselves and his/her life.

  1. Love Life (describe generally the nature of it)Desperated since there is no response from Dr Astrov’s side She can’t find love because she is plain___________________________
  2. Moral Standards (not just high or low, but give a hint of what is important to your character) Loyalty and living a peaceful life. Even if this is not actually happening she firmly believes she should wait patiently for her life to naturally come to an end and find the calmness and peacefulness in afterlife.

______________________________________________________________

  1. Philosophy (about their life)Wait for death to find peace since life on earth is miserable

______________________________________________________________

  1. Ambitions (personal goals and dreams)PAST:Admit her strong feelings to Dr Astrov and establish a relationship.Always make the right decisions for the estate and convincing her father not to sell it.

FIND LOVE that’s her main ambition. KEEP THE ESTATE________________

  1. Disappointments (opportunities missed, wrong roads taken, relationships, etc.)

She constantly feels inferior when it comes to love due to her ”plainess”
Seeing everyone around her take the downfall whether it is with drinking or trouble-making and laziness.

 

  1. 6. Complexes (things which bother or concern your character)the future of the estate and her love life
  2. Abilities (ways in which your character excels in navigating life and its problems)Always compationate and rational, always good at decision making(Though she doesn’t take leadership roles and lets fear control her)_____________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________

  1. Qualities (of a person’s character)Rational and logical, faithful and respectful, strong sense of family wanting everyone to live in harmony with each other _____________________

______________________________________________________________

  1. Peculiarities (oddities or unusual character traits)Hard work but always afraid and especially too self aware_________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________

  1. If you were an animal, what would it be and why?ant/ always working but small and unappreciated
Armadillo Slow, sure, in no hurry; keeper of the house
Beaver Power of working and attaining a sense of achievement, builder
Porcupine The power of faith and trust
Raccoon Bandit, shy, resourceful
Seal Family oriented, possesses power in numbers

MOSTLY->Seal__________________________________________________

  1. Color (Does your character have a favorite color and how does character impact your character?)SHE DOES NOT HAVE A FAV COLOR My guess:Brown for her noble nature. It is dark implying her misery and despair but not dark since she has still the power to wait for natural death.

 

 

  1. Character’s Objectives

These should not be arrived at until you’ve assembled the above information.

  1. Super-objective (Answer the following questions based on your character’s objective for the whole play.
  2. Desire (your character’s super-objective for the play)Find love and maintain the family and its property (estate)_________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________

  1. Will (the relative strength or weakness in your character’s ability to achieve their desire)The peacefulness that comes with death and the liberation that will come from that_

______________________________________________________________

  1. Objectives & Tactics (Answer for the following questions for each scene and write them in your script.)
  2. Objectives – The actor must find out what his or her character “wants.” “I want,” “I need,” “I must have” statements help the actor to solidify the objective of the character. Typically it has to do with another character. You should write 1 objective for each scene.

Reassure and calm Uncle Vanya

  1. Tactic – The strategy used to achieve your objective. A character will use a certain tactic to get their objective. They switch tactics when they feel it is not working anymore. Make sure when you pick tactics that you are using playable words (Avoid nouns, use ACTIVE VERBS.) You should have multiple tactics in each scene.

Good Examples: To scold, To taunt, To cheer up, To bribe, To bargain, To flirt, To corrupt

Bad Examples: To laugh, To sit, To stare, To leave, To feel, To run

The bad examples are DEAD END tactics. Dead end tactics don’t work through the other characters on stage (your identifiable partner). There is a big difference between “I am angry at her.” (What are you going to do about it?!) And “I want to destroy her.”

Το pity them

 

III. Character’s Given Circumstances

Answer each of these questions for each scene (and not the entire play)!

  1. Where am I coming from? The city_______________________________
  2. What was I doing there? _______________________________________
  3. Why did I leave? ______________________________________________
  4. Why have I come here? To announce that he has gone_______________
  5. What will I do here?Adress the misery of my life but saying that no matter what happens we sould both wait for natural death_________________________________________
  6. Describe the environment and how it affects you. With one tragedy following the other I suffer but I won’t give in. I will wait for the gentle death and its peacefulness.__________
  7. Whom do I know here? Uncle Vanya______________________________
  8. What is my relationship to/feelings towards the people here? Uncle, COMPASSION since we both suffer LOVE and UNDERSTANDING_________________________________

 

______________________________________________________________

 

  1. Character’s Mood-Intensity at the Top

Describe these conditions for each scene (and not the entire play)!

  1. Heartbeat Low________________________________________________
  2. Perspiration None_____________________________________________
  3. Stomach Condition a knot on the stomach__________________________
  4. Muscle Tension More tense than normal___________________________
  5. Breathing Heavier than usually but not extreme_______________________

 

  1. Subtext

Write under each line of dialogue on the script, your character’s subtext (the things they cannot say aloud). Make sure that you don’t just paraphrase the dialogue but, using the insights gained from the character analysis, create a portrait of your character’s internal life!

 

 

SONYA: But what can we do, Uncle? We’re alive. (A pause.) We’ll live, through a long

  Dispair. We are not in control of our faith. We our being tortured by life.

Chain of days, endless nights. We’ll bear patiently whatever happens; we’ll work for

Our suffering will seem endless as we haven’t experienced joy. We cannot escape our destiny because I cannot become beautiful so we’ll obey. Since our estate is going to be sold we will be working for others

others, until we die, with no rest, and when our hour has come we’ll go without a

We will not relax or experience happiness in this world so will wait for death

murmur. But in the next world, Uncle, we’ll say that we suffered, that we were miserable,

about not getting married/selling the estate/my mother dying/troublesome stepsister

and God will have pity on us. Then, dear Uncle, a new life will start – radiant, beautiful;

 

we’ll rejoice and we’ll remember these sufferings with a smile; we’ll rest. I believe that,

 

Uncle, with all my heart. (She kneels in front of him and puts her hand on her uncle’s

You may think of it as crazy since all you see is misery but I BELIEVE it will happen

hands. She speaks in a tired voice.) We’ll rest. (Tyelyegyin quietly plays the guitar.) Yes,

It feels good saying that but also it convinces you more

rest! We’ll hear the angels sing, the sky will be filled with diamonds. All our trouble and

Imagining what the unreached joy looks like

pain will melt, there’ll be compassion. Our lives will be calm and gentle, sweet as a

 

caress…. I believe that, Uncle, I believe it. (With her handkerchief she wipes away her

Again feeling touched by what comes out of my mouth

uncle’s tears.) Dear, poor Uncle Vanya, you’re crying. (Through her own tears) You’ve

Acknowledging the impact of my words and start making it more personal

had no joy in your life, but wait, Uncle, just wait….We’ll rest…. (She embraces him.)

Uncle it is possible. I love you. We can do this together

We’ll rest. (We hear the tapping of the night watchman. Tyelyegyin plays softly. Mariya

Finding comfort in my words

Vasilyevna writes in the margins of her pamphlet. Maryina knits a stocking.) We’ll rest.

Finding liberation

 

  1. Character Narrative

Write an autobiography for your character. It should be in the first person and tell the story of your character from birth to the day the play begins. Include as much or as little information as is necessary to deeply understand who your character is and how he or she found him or herself in this situation. Describe any relationships he or she has with other characters in the play.

 

 

Born in Russia, 1975 I’ve been living in the countryside my entire life. It is the only reality I have encountered. Now I am living with my father and his fiancé in our estate. He first came here with my mother and bought the property. My actual mother is dead so my immediate family includes my Uncle Ivan Petrovich Voynitsky (Vanya) from my mother’s side, my grandma Maria Vasilevna Voynitskaya again from my mothers side and lastly the newly added member of our family Yelena Andreevna my father’s partner. Really close to my family is Mikhail Lvovich Astrov.  In his name my heart shatters into pieces. He has been the object of my affection and love, but I have not yet confronted that.

Being restricted within the borders of my environment I’ve always felt limited. Oh wish you could see the hypocracy of the society I live in. Like those old ladies dishing about me at church: they’d so much rather have someone who is beautiful than someone who is good.

 

Update

This is an update of  what I’ve been doing the past few days. And this can be summarised in just 1 word: rehearsing.

As the monologue festival is approaching, the rehearsing process has been becoming more and more intense. Through rehearsing I’m trying to find conventions and features to add to my monologue and also connect actions to meaning.This process is essential for the structure and build-up of the monologue. By rehearsing I am discovering and constructing. I am familiarising myself with new ideas, concepts and feelings. I am walking towards something unknown, scary but overwhelming and impressive. I know I have a destination and I’ll reach it (hopefully before the festival).

This was really short, but I hope enlightening and illuminating. Okay, I may be exaggerating a little bit here.