May 15, 2012

Today we warmed up and then played one round of an improv game which they requested. They lost steam pretty quickly, and really want to focus on monologues anyway, so we moved on. One of the participants stated assertively that she wanted to go first. It was evident that she had done a lot of work on the piece outside of class. She is clearer now on whom she is talking to at which time, and she’s developed her character’s attitude much more than before. She was clearly talking down to Phebe and Silvius, which is completely appropriate. This participant’s confidence is clearly growing each time she performs, and I think she’ll have a great final “product” when it comes time to do the show.

Then the participant working on Hamlet’s monologue took her turn. She goes deeper every time she does this – it’s wonderful to see. I asked her to add to what she was doing by really painting pictures with her words – trying to get her partner to see what she sees in her head. This lead to an even deeper performance that got a great reaction from the rest of the participants. She is doing very well, and she’s getting more confident all the time.

Then one of our Emilias performed her piece. She is now about half memorized, which is fantastic. The parts of the monologue she knows by heart don’t cause her any trouble any more – it’s just when she has to look at the paper that she stumbles. She said she was frustrated with one of the lines, that that one in particular was tripping her up, so we decided to cut it. I could tell she was relieved by this, and her next read went much more smoothly. I’m really proud of how far she’s come, when the first few days of the program she had to listen to everyone else perform multiple times before she felt okay getting up herself.

The next participant to go was the one performing the King’s monologue from Hamlet. The first read was incredible – there was passion, emotion, despair, frustration, longing… everything we’ve been talking about that the piece demands. I asked her what the breakthrough was, and she said it was taking my advice – getting out of her head and not thinking about it while performing. We talked about the three centers (head=thinking, heart=feeling, groin=willing) and which centers her character is in, in the piece. We decided that the King fluctuates between his feeling and willing centers. She performed again with this new take and she let up a little bit. She said she needs more time to rehearse with that idea. But she is doing a really great job.

Next was our other Emilia. She has only been in the class for three weeks, and she already has her monologue more or less memorized. Her first read she was a bit too much in her head, so we discussed how lusty Emilia is, and what kind of dirty jokes she is making. Her next read was better and captured more of the attitude. And by the third read, she even made her scene partner smile a little at some of the jokes. I’m so glad she joined the class. She’s so enthusiastic and committed to what she is doing.

Then one of the participants performing Antony in Julius Caesar got up. Her performance has lost none of its power from her breakthrough on Friday, but she is going a bit too fast. I asked her to find the most powerful/important words and give them more emphasis than the rest of the language. She did this, and her piece got much better. Everyone loves it. We agreed that at this point it’s time for her to memorize it, since the only thing holding her back is that she looks at her paper the entire time so we can’t see her eyes and it’s hard for her to be spontaneous.

Then our Hermione took her turn. She is doing a great job with this piece. She has it mostly memorized, which has freed her up to be more spontaneous with her emotions. We discussed how she might fluctuate between anger and sadness, and how her emotion has to build throughout the piece. She gets stronger and stronger each time.

This same participant is the one who will be released in August. She now has the exact date, so I’ve asked the program coordinator when a good date would be to have our performance before that. I also promised the group that I would have scenes for them soon. Hopefully I can get that done for next week.