Module 2 – Response weekend

Christmas holidays always tend to go by a LOT quicker when at the back of your mind you know how much preparation you have to do for an upcoming response weekend! Armed with our scene allocations and our completed homework tasks set by Martin, we launched into our first session of January, with the emphasis being ‘let’s play’.

Saturday was spent working on our scenes in response to the work we’d done with Olga Masleionnikova and Leah Hausman. We individually chose key points we wanted to work on, such as gestures and rhythms / motion factors / states of tensions etc.

One particular homework we’d been set was the animal study – whereby we had to choose an animal we felt best defined the character of our allocated role. How did this animal walk? Where is its focus? How does it breathe? How does it socialize? One key factor I learnt (the hard way) during this exercise was that swans are not always gracious. They may look poised whilst standing still, but their waddle is totally ridiculous and it isn’t long before you feel like a cross between Nicki Minaj and John Wayne….

An important consideration over the course of the weekend was not to try everything at once. Yes, it’s great that we’re learning new methods and approaches, but applying them all during one run of the scene often resulted in the approach coming across as non-specific. It proved much more effective to take one intention and push it to the maximum (and then reduce it) rather than slip into our default ‘actor mode’ or ‘playing’ of an emotion instead of allowing our portrayal of a single factor incorporate this emotion naturally.

Little notes during the weekend:

  • Be specific – as soon as you start to become vague, you will lose your audience and the scene will lose all momentum.
  • Don’t play your character, play real people. Find something that you can identify with.
  • You scene must have direction – if in doubt, use your objectives and possible actions to get you through.