June 5, 2012

Today we warmed up and played a game, since we haven’t played anything in awhile. It got us all woken up and ready to go. We began with the scene from Othello with one participant standing in for Desdemona, who wasn’t there at the beginning of class. We worked on making the scene more physical – Iago comforting Desdemona, Emilia going from comforting Desdemona to being aggressive toward Iago, actually backing him down. We discussed the power of the language in telling us the exact emotional state of the characters. The inmate standing in for Desdemona had a hard time staying in character (she kept laughing at “Iago’s” faces), but we worked through it.

Then we worked Lady Macbeth and Macbeth. We talked about finding the different beats in the scene – when Macbeth shifts from not wanting to commit the murder to when he buckles and decides to do it after all. We talked about the nastiness of Lady Macbeth and how it must affect Macbeth; it must shock him into giving in. The scene is making great strides.

Next was the scene from As You Like It with Duke Frederick, Celia and Rosalind. The participants are dead on with their goals and obstacles, but we felt like the piece needed more movement. The other participants made some suggestions, to which I added my own ideas, and all of these things combined made for a much more interesting scene. The participants are really getting into it now, and it shows.

We worked Rosalind’s monologue. This participant wanted to do the drop in exercise again, so we did. She then asked if she could do it that way in performance, and I don’t have a problem with it. We’ll tell the audience we’re letting them behind the scenes, or something like that. I’m not sure if anyone else will want to do theirs that way, but I’m glad she’s found a way to make herself more comfortable.

Then our Jaques got up to perform. She has her monologue half memorized but got stuck paraphrasing a lot. I got on book for her, and she called line where she needed to. Then she tried it again on her own. I think perhaps she’s grown disenchanted with the piece, but I can’t quite tell. I’m going to keep my eye on her to make sure she doesn’t put the monologue in the show because she feels like she has to – only if she wants to.

Last, we worked with one of our Antonys. She continues to gain power with her piece – her pacing is getting more frenetic without being over the top or distracting. I reminded her that any time she repeats a word it’s for a reason, and that each time a word comes up it is different than the time before. She experimented with this and made some solid discoveries about what power those repeated words have.

The participants noticed today that they are starting to memorize each other’s pieces. They are totally invested in everyone’s work, and they help out with lines when people stumble. It’s really great to see them working as a team like that. This is a very tight ensemble.