Music to our Ears

Last night our rehearsal was led by Hilary-Ann. For her activity, she had us listen to music and move in whatever ways the music made us move. She also had us write 3 different words on slips of paper. These words had to do with American culture, our generation, or love. She pulled out the words while the music was playing and we were moving. She told us to let the words affect us as well. Hilary played four or five different songs for us, all of which she said she had played for a certain reason. I don’t remember (because I didn’t know them) many of the songs, nor do I know her purpose for choosing each of them. However, each song seemed to have a different mood and affect us all in a different way. Collectively as a group, we seemed to react pretty similarly. The energy in the room would change with each song and sometimes the song would give us a goal, sometimes it would take our goals away. After we did the activity, we talked about all of these things and what Hilary saw. One thing that we found quite poignant in what she saw was, “a struggle for nothing.” We talked about this idea and what it meant to us and then we decided to explore this idea physically. Hilary picked out a few more songs and we laid down to start the next activity. Kelly watched this one so that Hilary could participate. While we were laying down we each thought of something that we were struggling with and used this in conjunction with the music to see how it affected us. This also brought out some cool results and moments, which we talked about after the activity. There are some moments from this activity that we will explore in subsequent rehearsals as well as the idea of masks. One of the songs that Hilary played was “Babel” by Mumford and Sons. We all seemed to react strongly to this song and to its lyrics so we will keep playing around with this song.

In our next rehearsal we are going to make masks and watch the documentary Happy.

In the rehearsal after that, we will use these masks and I am going to look into doing an activity from Moni Yakim’s Creating a Character, using the chapter on the social self.

We have a lot of exciting ideas buzzy around now. I would like us to explore these ideas and hone them into what is most important so that we can put this into the piece.

October 25

Our rehearsal on October 25th started off a little low energy because most of us had been working an event for our theatre organization that afternoon. We did a warmup to get the blood flowing and then started in on Kelly’s activity. For her activity, she had us do various animal activities. At first, she had us be an animal that we felt represented ourselves. Then she had us be an animal that we felt represented someone very close to us. After our animals, we were told to imagine the time that we were most happy and take all of that energy and put it into movement. She then had us find an animal that matched that movement. Finally, we were told to imagine the time when we were most hurt and get back into that moment and react to each other’s energy.
We all seemed to like the animal exercises and talked about beginning the piece as animals.

Animal Work

The most recent rehearsal that we have had was on October 28th. In this rehearsal we continued our work with animals. We each picked an animal and stuck with that animal for an hour. We played as these animals together and one of us stepped out to watch every ten minutes. The person who stepped out would give us conditions like weather or things to think about as our animals. We ranged all over the food chain and when one of us died, we came to life as a new animal.
This work is important if we are going to begin as animals in the piece.

Catching Up on Rehearsals part 2

The second unblogged rehearsal happened the Sunday when everyone came home from fall break.

We started back up where we had left off with our paired up stories. We all took about 15 minutes to work in our pairs and combine our stories. I told everyone not to talk about the story behind what they had performed, but to link together what they had presented. I also told them that they may have to compromise parts of their story to make the partnered story cohesive.

We then performed our partnered stories for the group and talked about what we saw. We decided that we saw three stages of a relationship and talked about how we could link all three stories together. We then tried this. Everyone seemed to enjoy this activity a lot. We had fun deepening our characters and finding new things to add to our story. At the end of rehearsal, I asked everyone to write down their character’s story to revisit later. The scenes that we created may not make it into the final product, but some of the characters or situations could.

Catching up on past rehearsals part 1

I have neglected to blog about our last three rehearsals. So now I will do a synopsis of each of them!

Our first unblogged rehearsal was the weekend of fall break. We met up so that I could give the cast a task after our last rehearsal. Our last rehearsal was awesome, but it didn’t exactly lead us in the direction that I thought it would. So I felt like we should continue exploring the things that we discovered in the last rehearsal. I gave all of the cast members the task of coming up with an activity that explores the question that they asked in the previous rehearsal. I gave some examples of devising methods that I have been reading in various books. Some of these include Viewpoints, telling individual stories, creating unfinished scenes or songs for the group to finish, and many other activities that would probably sound goofy if I tried to describe them.

We then did my activity since I could have something prepared. The question that I had asked in our previous rehearsal was, “How has your culture affected you?” What I saw in everyone’s movements at first was a lot of isolation. I then started to see people reaching out to each other and even using technology maybe to reach out to people.

I told everyone to think of a time when they have felt isolated and to show us that moment. We all took about 10 minutes to develop out stories and then we presented them to each other. I then had people pair up with someone that they felt they had a connection with and the pairs performed their stories in tandem. This created a cool new story as the two stories combined. This is where this rehearsal ended, but I told the pairs to think of ways that they could now connect their two stories together to make a cohesive story.