Quotations: Volume 22

Here are some of the educational, inspirational, and humorous quotations from my classes this week:

"Hard work, [O.D.]. You're eating, sitting down, some pretty girls next to you... Hard work. I wish I had your problems." - Acting Professor

"Do sea lions still exist?" - Movement Professor

(Big Show was the first person to attempt a one-handed cartwheel)
Movement Professor: Sorta scary, but sorta not scary, right?
Big Show: No, it's still pretty scary.

All-The-Way: I read it. I did read it. The whole thing. I'm not gonna say how I felt about it, but I read it.
Analysis Professor: Good, because the people watching your audition don't care how you felt about it. They just care how you communicate it.

"Art is a great objective to pursue. But I don't recommend bringing it up in the auditioning room." - Analysis Professor

"Maybe this is a [Movement Professor] note?" - All-The-Way, giving a note in Acting class while sitting next to Movement Professor

"It's really important to take your partner in before you do anything. Especially if you have the first line." - Movement Professor

"The worst acting is acting in your pause and not on your words." - Analysis Professor

"Just make sure you're really brilliant at typing." - Voice Professor, when asked if it was okay to retype scenes for auditions

"Is this étude over? I don't even know." - Newbie

Acting Professor: Here is the secret: when I said you had total freedom, you don't. Because you have these lines.
Thrill: Well, we knew that.
Acting Professor: Maybe you did, [Thrill], but [Iceman] didn't.
Iceman: Yeah... (to Acting Professor) LIAR!!!

"I thought there was sexual tension at the end of the étude, so I was hoping you weren't cousins." - All-The-Way

"Thank you. Wow... That was classic." - Acting Professor, to Killer and Thrill after an étude where they were both falling asleep

"I was like, 'There's a flip flop with no foot in it... And there's a foot with nothing on it...'" - Thrill, explaining his thought process in an étude

O.D.: I get it. I should have just used [Iceman]'s foot another way. It's fine.
Acting Professor: Leave all the feet alone!

"Don't start tremoring. Don't even tell anybody that you tremor." - Analysis Professor, on what not to do in the audition room

"I don't care how you feel about the story; I care what you're trying to achieve." - Analysis Professor

"I'm Bo Derek!... My name's Bo Decker." - D-Train, enthusiastically announcing the character's name incorrectly in a scene from Bus Stop

"You have about four lines to get the attention of the director. Maybe three. And if you don't get them at the beginning, I guarantee that they're going to tune you out and start thinking about what they're going to eat for lunch." - Analysis Professor

Analysis Professor: Now, what do you do if the director throws you an adjustment?
D-Train: You adjust.
Analysis Professor: Thank you!

"Everybody has these defaults they all fall back on. You've got the smiling disease." - Analysis Professor, to Newbie

"Sometimes you'll get bad directions. [Newbie], could you make it more purple?" - Analysis Professor

"Practice, practice, practice, practice... but you need to practice the right stuff." - Acting Professor

"In this field it's either 'you can' or 'you can't.' It's not 'you know' or 'you don't know.'" - Acting Professor

"No vocal exercises, no matter how important they are, no movement exercises, no matter how important they are, will fix that problem. Only exercising inner-technique will save you." - Acting Professor

"You play with your soul, and your soul needs to be tuned. If you don't tune your soul, nothing good is going to happen." - Acting Professor

"Your job will never be done." - Acting Professor

"You are forming an ensemble in mysterious ways." - Acting Professor

"We should read it in class. This will ensure that you will take it in one gulp, as opposed to some Three Sisters vinaigrette chopped salad." - Acting Professor

"It's not about being a good partner and throwing the ball back. In a funny way, it's about holding the ball. You need to be more selfish." - Analysis Professor, on auditioning with a Reader

"Art is all about associations." - Acting Professor

"Classical plays should always be read as contemporary, and contemporary should be read as classical." - Acting Professor

(Acting Professor sees me get out my pen after saying something)
"This is going on somebody's blog." - Acting Professor

"Chekov never says anything. He hints. He relies on having incredibly sensitive actors who will pick up on them." - Acting Professor

Analysis Professor: It's not really naturalism. It's more than that.
Me: It's supernatural?
Killer: No.
All-The-Way: So it's like 'Naturalism Plus'?
Director A: Fortified with irony.

"You guys are old before your time. Don't do it." - Voice Professor

O.D.: I came up with sentences instead of images, which are like one degree removed from the images.
Me: Inspired by them. Ekphrasis.
O.D.: What?
Me: Ekphrasis. E-K-P-H-R-A-S-I-S.
Acting Professor: Stop swearing!
Two-Shots-Up: Thank you!
O.D.: Is that a word to describe the process I went to?
Me: Yes.
Acting Professor: If I hear words I don't know, I assume they're swear words.

"I think Anton Chekov may have surpassed Jack Bauer at this point." - Killer, after Acting Professor told us some CRAZY stories about things that Chekov did in his life


Friday, February 27

We had Voice class first today (the 2nd-years were doing some sort of Commedia dell'Arte performance with Movement Professor at that time). It was a little weird to have Voice first. I guess we'll have to get used to it, as our schedule is flipped in our second year.

Voice Professor thinks that people use too wide of a vowel on the word "like" because it's a happy word, so it pulls some kind of psychological trigger to smile. (Which provoked me to make up the sample sentence, "I smile psychologically while saying like."

Our homework is to work sentences using the diphthongs of "like", "pay", and "oil", as well as our "ing" combinations (the "i" should sound like "sit", not "green").

I did forward rolls from standing! I was a little worried at first, so Movement Professor came over and spotted me, but it ended up just fine. In fact, I think I'm actually BETTER at starting them from standing than I am at starting them from the ground.

Movement Professor let some of my classmates begin dive-rolling... over her. I was nervous for her, but they did really well!

We also worked on backward rolls. I'm kind of a disaster at those, actually. I can roll backward, but apparently I'm not doing it in a safe way. And when I try to correct it, somehow I end up sideways... No idea how.

There was also a new variation on cartwheels today that involves you springing up with an arched back. My body couldn't figure it out.

We were getting into "bridges/arches" at one point. It's really easy for me to bend over backward from a standing position, but Movement Professor doesn't want me to for right now. She'd prefer that I get up into a bridge from the ground, as it will help to strengthen my arms.

We continued our "story time" method of going through Three Sisters, and shared some of the images that came to us. I didn't say most of mine, because I was worried that they didn't make any sense. "A giant chicken with its feet cut off," for example. The ones I did mention were "water flowing out of the cracks in a vase," "smoke from a chimney joining smoke that was already in the air from burning houses down the street," and "a fish bowl with water and sand, but with fish painted on the outside of the bowl instead of fish inside." No, I don't know what any of those things mean (or IF they're related to Three Sisters), but that's what came to me. Fortunately, my classmates came up with some images that seemed just as disconnected as mine.

I went to see Visiting Mr. Green tonight, and I'm so glad I did. It was really a beautiful play about two men finding common ground in their dissonant lives, and trying to find a way to handle the dissonance that religion and ideals can create within families.


Thursday, February 26

People have started doing forward rolls (somersaults) from standing positions. I'm not doing it because landing on my shoulder freaks me out (although it's apparently safer than landing on my upper back, which is what I'm used to).

I'm getting stronger already. Doing the combat crawl today was a piece of cake in comparison to last week. Christina's Crawl (which is a sideways combat crawl) is still really hard though. Luckily, I have a feeling that one isn't going to come up too much in my acting career.

I got into the yoga "tripod" position in a properly balanced way for the first time today! It was really exciting.

Auditioning Workshop
I was the last person to go today, so I had the benefit of hearing the comments for everyone else before I went. As a result, I did well. The thing that I have to work on is controlling my movement without moving into a state of rigidity (because on my first go, my knees locked and I wasn't really free enough movement-wise). But still, I'm happy with how I did.

Some key lessons I picked up during other people's tries:

- Make one sentence interchanges as active as longer monologues
- You are allowed to take a moment to drop into coherence before you begin. Just don't take longer than 30 seconds
- When preparing, read the text out loud and get the language into your mouth with ease
- Read the ENTIRE PLAY, not just the sides
- Determine the character's point of view
- Find action verbs for the character to pursue at specific moments in the text
- Do your research on the text (particularly into words/phrases/concepts you don't know)
- You don't owe the Reader in the same way that you would a scene partner; it's perfectly acceptable to steal a scene instead of sharing it
- Thank the Reader when you're done; it shows that you're polite and professional
- You CANNOT be tentative in your choices
- Pay special attention to making the text at the top of the scene come alive

We're learning the difference between "audition technique" and "rehearsal technique", which really are two different things. "Audition technique" feels a little more manufactured and less organic, but it's something that we need to have under our belts in order to get work.

We took turns using Three Sisters for story time. One person would read EVERYTHING (dialogue, stage directions, everything) while everyone else listened and allowed themselves to think in abstract imagery, and then another person would read. We weren't supposed to follow along in our texts, but I HAD to after about 3 pages. I just kept feeling like I couldn't stay focused on the story without reading along, and I kept getting confused.

At the end of the act, we'd write down our images. I felt like mine were stupid. Like melting ice cream cake, pink dresses in a brown closet, or an overcoat that was missing buttons. I'm not sure they had anything to do with the text. Maybe I was doing it wrong?

We only got through the first two acts. We'll be reading the last two acts tomorrow in the same fashion.

We continued to discuss Mother Courage and Her Children. We tried to come up with an action for it, but I don't think we fully nailed one. The first thing thrown out was "to survive (at any cost)", but we became less sure of it as the discussion continued.

Our next assignment is to read Caucasian Chalk Circle by Brecht. We'll have to write papers on that one.

With Brecht, we're supposed to find the difference between what the action is, and how the play asks us to judge the action. I think I understand it, but it's a pretty confusing line to draw.

Killer had a really interesting idea about how scenes are introduced in Brechtian scene introductions might have been a predecessor to "coming attractions" and "next week, on LOST". I thought it was a cool insight.


Wednesday, February 25

A few members from the incoming class of 2012 have accepted their offers already! It's simultaneously exciting and strange. I can't believe it's been a year since I accepted my own offer.

We've been continuing to do stretches and tumbling. The stretches are actually the more tiring part of the class to me.

The big news is that we've started doing more daring things. Tuesday, half of the class was allowed to start attempting one-handed cartwheels. I really, really, really wanted to try, but my Movement Professor said I should give it another day. Then yesterday she said I was allowed to go, but suddenly, my body didn't want to anymore. I ended up doing a variation on it; I can get around if my legs are bent (what Movement Professor refers to as "baby cartwheels). It's still pretty scary, even though logically I know that I'm completely safe on the mats.

Yesterday we started trying to kick up into handstands, and then tried to walk on our hands. So far, Big Show has been the most successful in that endeavor. Thrill and Two-Shots-Up are also doing pretty well. I can kick up into a handstand for a few seconds, but if I try to move, I fall over backwards. It's because my lower back arches in the handstand and I can't really feel it. Oh well.

Auditioning Workshop
We've been having a workshop for the last couple of days with Voice Professor and Analysis Professor on how to audition well.

The first day, we mostly discussed concepts, and did a little cold (extremely cold) reading. Then people were assigned roles in the two plays we read to prepare well.

Yesterday, five people tried to actually audition, and our professors critiqued them and gave advice to all of us on the process.

- It might be a good idea to make a personal connection to the people in the auditioning room first. Ways to do this include, "Did you see the first story in the newspaper today?", "Do you mind if I use a chair/stand?", or asking a TEENY TINY question about the text (but that can get dangerous... you don't want to ask a question that is going to make them think you're unprepared).

- You can suck up, but only if it's quick, clean, and appropriately placed.

- If a dialect is written into the text, at the audition it's not about the dialect, but rather about the rhythm.

- Everything you do has to be about the connection you have to the text and to your scene partner (the Reader).

- Attack everything with the strongest possible intentions.

- Make sure you're paying attention to intentions, not attitudes.

- Avoid tells/defaults/crutches (over-use of hands, going off-voice, smiling, etc.)

- Play verbs

- You have about 3-4 lines to get the attention of the director, so start off strong

- Nobody expects you to memorize the sides; they jst don't want you looking down the whole time.

- If you're given an adjustment, don't ask a lot of questions. Don't act like it's the dumbest direction you've ever gotten. Just adjust. You simply say thank you, take the note, and move on. You may ask a question if you need clarification, but never, ever, ever comment on the note.

- Bring personalization to the thoughts.

- Stay connected to your partner even in silence.

We've gone back to our "primal" Demidov text études. Acting Professor reminded us that we should be getting together to work on these on our own. He said that our job as actors will never be done, and that working on these is the best way to help develop our new reflexes.

Our next unit will be our Chekov Project. We will be reading Three Sisters and working on a couple of acts of it in class to develop characters. Acting Professor says that he believes that it is the "only true polyphonic ensemble play" that Chekov created.

We had a discussion on what we think the goal of theatre is after having read Brecht. Most of us have unchanged opinions from the beginning of the year ("to educate", "to inspire", "to heal", "to entertain", "to incite change", etc.)

We began our discussion of Mother Courage and Her Children, and started relating the concepts of war and economy to our present society.

I went to go see The Imaginary Invalid on Tuesday night. I don't really NEED to go see it anymore. I've got the part ready to go, and the show closes on Sunday. But I really WANTED to see it again. I've spent a lot of time with this play, even though I haven't actually been in it. I'm going to be sad to see it go.


Monday, February 23

This weekend we had two understudy rehearsals for The Winter's Tale. Sadly, we had to do them in a rehearsal room because the ballet is performing this weekend. The result of this? It means that when we do Act IV and Act V at our understudy run, it will be the first time that any of us has done that blocking on the set.

I'm doing... alright. The first day we did the end of the play, and I ended up giving up and carrying my script for the final scene. Which is upsetting, but then I remembered that it was the FIRST TIME that I had ever rehearsed those lines with people other than myself. I just need to work the lines and blocking on my own, and I'm sure it'll be fine.

The second day was better. I went script-less for most of it, and I got all of the blocking without being reminded of it.

If I had to go on for Winter's Tale tomorrow, it would be rough, but I think the show would go on. (Well... except for the "Music, awake her, strike" monologue at the end... That might still be a little... paraphrased).

Our actual understudy run isn't until April 11. I'm praying that the actress playing the role doesn't get sick between now and then, because I'd really like to be able to rehearse the second half of the play on the set before performing it. I'm sure it would work itself out, but the experience of trying it on the set would make me a lot more confident about the whole thing.

This weekend includes not one, but TWO late nights (student-produced theatre events).

Sunday night I went to see a reading of a fairly new play called "Breathe". It's about two young boys who are in jail for separate murders, and the ways that their families are dealing with it. The cast was Thrill, D-Train, Two-Shots-Up, and a few 2nd and 3rd-years. I was glad to see that several of my schoolmates and some people from the community came out to support it, even though it meant missing the end of the Oscars.

Tonight I'm going to the "Poetry Mixtape", which Iceman put together. He's done a lot of performance poetry in the past, so he assembled a group to put on the show. I'm looking forward to it.

I received the following email from Voice Professor regarding my Vonnegut test in Acting class:

hi Angela,
Excellent open expressive vocal work!
Strong S&L
Strong application of speech to acting, great!
Good vocal energy, even during whispered lines

I struggled a lot last semester with staying "on voice", keeping vocal energy, and sending & landing my lines when I was actually in scenes (as opposed to just focusing on them in class). I've been working hard, and I'm so, so, so, so proud that I'm getting better at this stuff.

Now, if only I can stop locking my knees when I act...

It turns out the 2nd-years ALSO have to read Bus Stop and Morning's at Seven by Tuesday. The reading part isn't the problem; the obtaining copies of the plays on such short notice that's the problem.

I got really lucky, and bought probably the last copy of Bus Stop in town (the store said they didn't have it, but I went there anyway to look... It was there in an anthology that was horribly mis-alphabetized). I read it immediately and passed it off to Killer, who said he'd pass it to All-the-Way, who said she'd pass it to Wifey. Big Show checked a copy of Morning's at Seven out of the library, which I read and passed to All-the-Way. I hope that everyone can pass all the plays around and get them read in time. *fingers crossed*

I still have to finish Mother Courage and Her Children by tomorrow as well.

Now I just have to find time to do my grocery shopping...



Quotations: Volume 21

Here are some of the educational, inspirational, and humorous quotations from my classes this week:

"The gestures are not big because they're funny; the gestures are big because the stakes are very, very high." - Analysis Professor, at the Imaginary Invalid understudy run

"If you're begging for a laugh, you'll never get one." - Analysis Professor

"Don't ever play the vagina. Don't play that your nose is in her crotch. It just happens to be there." - Analysis Professor to Killer (Claude Understudy) at the Imaginary Invalid understudy run

"She thinks she's being gentle, but she just has that loud and intense energy. It's... You know what it is? It's me. In text class. I'm being gentle when I talk like that." - Analysis Professor to Two-Shots-Up about the character of Angelique at the Imaginary Invalid understudy run

"If it's not real, it's not comedy." - Analysis Professor

"He thinks, 'I am about to lose the most important thing in my life.' He just happens to be Joan Crawford." - Analysis Professor about stakes at the Imaginary Invalid understudy run

Me: Hey [Two-Shots-Up], [my friend] is making tacos at my place later. You coming over?
Two-Shots-Up: Are they gonna be chicken tacos? Because if they are, I'm in there like swimwear.

"Let's make this out of porcelain. Safety isn't a priority, so long as it's heavy." - Big Show, using a funny accent, making fun of a set piece we were moving

"Because we're freaks, right? In the world scheme. We all know that." - Voice Professor, about people who do theatre

"We could copy it. It's educational. It's not like we're going to sell it. Who would buy it?" - Voice Professor, on obtaining a DVD about vocal cords that was hundreds of dollars

"I'm not doing anything tricky. This is all I'm doing." - Voice Professor, when entering The Child's Pose to begin a demonstration of the Triangle Laser Hum

Thrill: (to Voice Professor, after Triangle Laser Hum) Has anyone ever told you you're like an alien when you do that?
Voice Professor: I know it's a little out-of-body.

Voice Professor: (to Analysis Professor) No shoes on the mats!
(the class has various vocal reactions to jokingly shame him)
Analysis Professor: Oh, shut up. I own the place.

Artistic Director: Hey! You're the one with the blog!
Me: Yeah, that's me.
Artistic Director: Am I on it?
Me: Yes. A little.
Artistic Director: What's my code name?
Me: "Artistic Director."
Artistic Director: Is that all? I was hoping for something more exciting.
Analysis Professor: (leans out of Student Rep meeting room) Angela, get in here. [Artistic Director], you can have her when she's a third-year. Right now, she's mine.

"I feel a bit funny standing here recording with my mouth open wide like a goober fish or something. Not a goober fish. A grouper? I don't know. It has a big mouth and it opens." - O.D.

"He's a side man. Of course he's a side man. And he has his own tragedy. But you can't live the tragedy; you have to live." - Movement Professor, about O.D.'s character in Acting class

"That's a different kind of acting. Brecht is not Vonnegut, because Brecht is... Brecht." - Acting Professor

"If I was blonde, that would've sounded very smart." - Acting Professor, after describing the social ramifications of being a pretty blonde woman to describe my character in Acting class

"I loved playing the dumb blonde roles when I was younger. I loved, loved, loved, loved, loved, loved, LOVED playing the dumb blonde." - Movement Professor

"[O.D.], I see you holding yourself at a gun point there to do something romantic. Why?" - Acting Professor, about O.D. in a scene

"Is there such a thing as, instead of 'stepping on the brakes', the problem was not having enough gas?" - O.D., after a discussion about how he may have 'stepped on the brakes' instead of following all of his impulses in a scene

O.D.: So the impulse is the green light, but you still have to step on the gas?
D-Train: Wow. Our metaphors are getting REALLY clear now.

"That's okay. You didn't know. But now that you know... you could move your legs." - Movement Professor to D-Train, after he said he felt stupid for not following his impulse that his character was secretly gay

"Who stole my Bagombo?" - Acting Professor, when he couldn't find his copy of Bagombo Snuff Box

"You come to graduate school to be sensitive, not to cover up. You're covered up when you get there. You have to spend the next three years getting rid of all that crap." - Movement Professor

"Brecht is the founder of MTV." - Analysis Professor

"I'm just gonna die in the insane asylum." - Newbie, after having difficulty in Movement class with something called The Torpedo, which resembles crossing the floor on your back while wearing a strait-jacket

"I'll put a whoopie cushion under you if you keep forgetting to take your butt off the floor." - Movement Professor

"Never look at where you're coming from. Always look at where you're going. That's the past. This is the future." - Movement Professor, on cartwheels

"This might seem a little crunchy-fruity, but it's true." - Movement Professor

Movement Professor: I'm not sure that you should do this today, [Killer]. Your shoulder might not be ready today.
Killer: I'm fine today.
Movement Professor: Can you do it tomorrow instead? When I've calmed down about it?

Movement Professor: Do you like to cartwheel, [Big Show]?
Big Show: Oh, I love to cartwheel. I was doing this for an hour before I came in this morning.
Movement Professor: You're lying.
Big Show: Yes, I'm lying.

"There's probably one number you're gypping. Don't do that." - Voice Professor, on our "pelvic clocks"

D-Train: [Movement Professor] kicked our a**es today.
Voice Professor: That's good.
Thrill: Good?
Voice Professor: Doesn't it feel good?
Thrill: You don't understand.
Voice Professor: You don't think I've had my a** kicked millions of times by [Movement Professor]?
Thrill: Yeah, but that was when you were in your prime.

"I can out-cobra you any day of the week, man." - Voice Professor to Thrill, challenging him to a tremor-ing contest

Voice Professor: (using Russian accent) Special kind of pleasure.
Killer: That's what [Acting Professor] says after hours.
Voice Professor: That's what all Russians say after hours.

"The fact that you can hold a pause on stage and still live is wonderful. There are many professionals that cannot do that. But, guys, you don't have to prove to us that you can do that. We've seen it. You've done it. Stop trying to prove it." - Acting Professor

"No wonder so many actors become emotional wrecks in everyday life. It's that they're not putting everything onto the stage." - Acting Professor

"The fact that you are functioning that well as an actor despite the 'Movement Storm' makes me wonder what would happen if you stopped battling all that stuff." - Acting Professor to Big Show

"Again, it's half compliment, half ay-yi-yi." - Acting Professor

Movement Professor: I was going to say something, but I can't remember. Maybe it wasn't important.
Iceman: If it was important, you'll remember it.
Movement Professor: Isn't that the way it always works? It was probably an anecdote.
All-the-Way: Were you going to tell us a slightly dirty story?
Movement Professor: No. But I could.

"It is still being discussed in [Acting Professor]'s mind, by himself." - Voice Professor, when we asked her if she knew what play we might be using for our Play Project in Acting class

All-the-Way: My a** is sore.
Wifey: I'm not counting what's sore anymore. I'm counting what's not sore.
All-the-Way: That sounds easier.
Wifey: It's a much shorter list.
Iceman: My tongue is fine.

(after Iceman had listed several other body parts that were not sore, Voice Professor stopped him)
Iceman: Did I just cross a line?
Voice Professor: Not yet, but I figured that's where you were headed. When the word 'nipple' is mentioned, it's a good time to stop.

"When I said 'Pippin', you knew I meant the musical and not, like, 'pimpin'', right?" - Voice Professor

"I have to take off this off This forward placement makes me hot." - Voice Professor, removing the fleece that she wears over her clothes in the usually-cold voice studio

"You should never feel like a little girl. You should always feel like a woman who goes to bed naked." - Movement Professor, coaching me on how to play my Marilyn Monroe-esque character

"Angela, you should be writing this down." - Acting Professor to me, after the ONE THING he'd said all class that I hadn't written down (which I think, based on my notes, was about how the emotional life of a character is grown purely organically, whereas physical life of a character can be a little more of a choice because real physical behavior is a result of choices rooted in society, culture, and how one wishes to be perceived.)

"Good. You're going to take him far away from the house, and shoot him there. You can't shoot him here, so you'll take him to the forest." - Acting Professor, side-coaching All-The-Way on her reason for agreeing to go on a walk with Iceman's character

"I'm not getting anywhere, but I'm having fun." - Wifey, on the "Swoopy Scoop" crawl thing that we did in Movement class

"Where does my bottom begin? I can't feel it anymore." - D-Train, during the "Swoopy Scoop"

"Bring that gorgeous pelvis through." - Movement Professor, on donkey kicks

"I hope this move isn't part of natural selection. Because if it is, I'm done for." - Me, on "Christina's Crawl", which is like a sideways combat crawl

Voice Professor: I don't generally hug students.
All-The-Way: But what if I told you that my dog died and I was inconsolable.
Voice Professor: If it were true, then I'd give you a hug.
Thrill: I'm gonna find you one day, [Voice Professor]. I'm gonna find you and give you a hug.
Voice Professor: I have a lot of power to pay you back, [Thrill].

"Is it possible to have a 'chai mai tai'?" - Voice Professor, trying to create a sentence for the "aI" diphthong

Two-Shots-Up: (using her example sentence for the "aI" diphthong) 'I like Thai guys."
Voice Professor: That's sexy.

"Never, ever, never be stingy with the breath." - Voice Professor

(explaining the mouth shape with the "aI" diphthong, and the phrase "I like my pie.") "Don't be too wide. You shouldn't have to smile. I don't smile. I'm very serious about my pie. - Voice Professor

"I saw Hellboy. In the theatre. And of course I loved it. And Hellboy Two. With [Analysis Professor]." - Voice Professor

Voice Professor: (to me, after I said "I exercise my tight thighs at nine.") Great consonants in the final position. Did everyone hear that?
Iceman: Yeah. She's pretty good at talkin'.

"Oh, buck up, Leontes. Jesus!" - All-The-Way, during an understudy rehearsal for The Winter's Tale


And here are some from a few weeks ago...

"I love [Voice Professor], but she is mad as a hatter!" - Carl Forsman

"Doing Agatha Christie with no accent?! It's like doing a Thronton Wilder play with no clothes on!" - Carl Forsman

"sIwədəmIn?" - Acting Professor (that's my way of attempting to IPA the way he pronounces "See what I mean?", which he says on a regular basis... For those who don't read IPA, it's kinda like "sih-wud-uh-min?")


Friday, February 20

I was having a lot of trouble with cartwheels on my left side, but I started to figure them out by the end of class. We started a new way of crossing the floor using your hips that involves a "swoopy" "scoop" motion, and I was actually pretty good at that.

I really can't get the hang of the yoga Tripod position yet. But I CAN balance my weight in an alternative way so that it's all on my hands... but instead of my knees being on my elbows, my stomach is. Movement Professor says that it's not really training the same thing at all. Oh well.

My new voice challenge (as it seems I have a new one every couple of days) is working on not using glottal attacks at the beginnings of sentences. Apparently it's very common in the USA. I don't notice that I've done it until it's pointed out to me.

We focused on pronouncing the diphthongs in "like" and "pay" today. I think it's great fun trying to come up with example sentences.

For like, Voice Professor let us make up our own sentences on the spot. Her example was "I like my pie" (I like my pie). Some of our examples:

Iceman: "I like mai-tais every night."
Wifey: "I'd die to eat chives."
Two-Shots-Up: "I like Thai guys."
All-The-Way: "Mr. Hyde likes to make people die."
D-Train: "I like to get high."
Thrill: "I like to drive up high."
O.D.: "Why try to lie by flies?"
Newbie: "I like to highlight." (Note: She really does)
Big Show: "I like to ride my bike."
Me: "I exercise my tight thighs at nine." (That's when Movement class starts) and "I fly my kite sky high."

Killer and I collaborated to form a good "pay" sentence: "Eight great stage plays are playing today."

Our homework for tonight is to practice those vowels with whatever sentences we'd like.

Our Acting test went really well. Voice Professor came and said that she'll give us her notes at a later date. Everyone's work has been good during these Vonnegut projects, and I think today was the best that several scenes have gone. I'm proud of us. (I know I say that a lot about my class, but it's true.)

Acting Professor said that there are some things in theatre that force us to walk fine lines. For example, we need to find love in the scenes without falling into sentimentality. We also have to find freedom without falling into chaos.

I was worried about my scene with O.D. after yesterday, but it ended up being pretty good. Acting Professor said that it was "entirely unpredictable", and that he thought it was a huge growth. I was relieved.

After the test, we had a discussion about whether we're going to continue working on these scenes while moving on to our next unit or not. Part of the discussion involved what we should be doing at our Acting Showing at the end of the semester (we show things that are "works-in-progress" and try to treat it like an open class instead of a performance). We haven't reached a conclusion yet on whether we'll be showing these scenes or ones from the play project.

Next week, we're having an auditioning workshop (to continue in the same vein of what we learned from Carl Forsman) with Voice Professor and Analysis Professor. We've been told to read Bus Stop by William Inge and Morning's at Seven by Paul Osborn. We will be given sides on Tuesday.


Thursday, February 19

With the possible exception of Thrill, I think everyone in my class is sore from tumbling. We're taking everything really slowly and gently, but our bodies just aren't used to moving in these ways.

Some of the hardest things to do are things that I thought I already knew how to do. Log rolls (when you put your arms straight above your head and your legs straight down, and roll sideways... like you're rolling down a hill) are hard for me because we're supposed to use our psoas muscles and not arch our backs (I'm a habitual archer). Forward rolls (aka somersaults) are awkward because we're supposed to put our heads to the side and lead with one leg (I'm used to being square in my hips and going head-first). And I already mentioned cartwheels.

It turns out my vocal production is really far back. So is Iceman's. We think it's something we may have developed because of the roles we used to be cast in (Iceman played a lot of older men; I played a lot of older women, and a lot of men because I attended a women's college).

I talked to Voice Professor about setting up a tutorial (private instructional meeting) on Forward Placement. She said that if I promised not to worry about forward placement in the meantime, that she would. So I'm trying not to worry.

We tried humming on the same pitch with the same vocal quality while slowly rolling our heads around as a sort of diagnostic. I didn't do as badly as I thought I might, actually. It was definitely easier for some people in my class (like Thrill and All-The-Way) than others.

Movement Professor AND Voice Professor came to Acting class, so we got vocal and movement notes on our scenes.

O.D. and my scene... Well, I've never been more confused.

We started getting direction on characterizations. My character is now in the "Marilyn Monroe/dumb blonde" archetype, and O.D.'s character is some sort of body-builder. I felt like I was creating a caricature instead of a character. And I was going in and out of "I Am" like crazy. But when we finished, Acting Professor said that it was the most sense that the scene has ever made.

I don't know. I just feel like a whole new concept was thrown at us yesterday mid-scene. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it at some point, but right now it's really difficult to reconcile it with what I've been learning (how do I take the 1960s "twisted figure-8" walk that Movement Professor showed me and use it in the scene organically?). I just wish we had more time to work on it before Friday's test.

Analysis Professor gave us a "pop quiz" (but can it really be a pop quiz if he warned us about it?) on Brecht on Theatre. I'm not sure I did all that well, even though I understood the material. I think I misunderstood two of the questions...

Anyway. Brecht is less bothersome to me than I originally thought. The concept of "the alienation effect" is badly translated; it should really be "the effect that makes things strange or different." Therefore, Thornton Wilder's plays are Brechtian. I was previously under the impression that Brecht was trying to make the audience uncomfortable, but that apparently has more to do with people who have adapted his style down the line, and was not really part of his original construction.

The second person from my class officially went on in an understudy role yesterday: D-Train played Cleante in The Imaginary Invalid! The head of costumes interrupted our Voice class to pull D-Train out for an "emergency fitting" around 11:00am for the 2:00pm show. CRAZY! Sadly, it was a matinee, so the rest of us were in classes and couldn't attend (we tried to sneak in on our break, but it was during part of the show when he wasn't on stage). Anyway. I know he did a great job. CONGRATULATIONS D-TRAIN!

I ran into the actress playing Beline in The Imaginary Invalid. In yesterday's show, she said that when she said her first line, she barely had a voice. I told her that if she's too sick to go on, she doesn't have to worry; I'm a capable back-up. (Not trying to pressure her into not going on... I just wanted her to feel like the show could go on). There are only a handful of performances left, so we'll see what happens.

I stayed in the student lounge with Newbie last night reviewing our blocking for Act V of Winter's Tale on the video tape. I hope it all sticks in my brain.


Wednesday, February 18

Tumbling! Turns out, my right side is way more educated than my left side. I was having all sorts of trouble trying to do "ah-oos" (they're sort of like modified cartwheels) on my left side. But then when I tried the other side, it was a piece of cake. Two-Shots-Up had the opposite problem. Movement Professor says that means that I have a right-sided body, and Two-Shots-Up has a left-sided body. All exercises are going to be stronger on our more educated sides.

We learned a way to do cartwheels that is different from the one I was familiar with. We're doing our rotations completely in our side plane, as opposed to facing the leading foot. The idea is that it will better prepare us to do one-handed cartwheels. It's a little tricky to get used to, but I'm starting to get it.

Voice Professor informed me today that I'm "an adjuster", meaning that I have a tendency to drop whatever exercise we were just working on completely when asked to do another task, in favor of adjusting back to my (incorrect) habits. Drat.

Today it came up when we were working with forward placement, and then she asked me to speak some text. Once she told me that, I spoke the text again with forward placement and did fine. Somehow, I didn't connect that I was supposed to apply the exercise to the text until it was pointed out to me. But at least I think I understand the physical difference between the two. I'm hopeful that I'll start figuring out how to apply it tomorrow.

Voice Professor says that in this part of Florida, February is the worst month for mucus. Which is probably why half of my class sounds a bit phlegm-y right now. Blergh.

Voice Professor attended class to start giving us vocal notes before our test on Friday.

We discussed how in our current project (adapting short stories into scenes), we're not only focusing on truth for the actor (as we were last semester), but now also have to keep the truth of the character and truth of the author.

Other things mentioned:
- You need to earn your pauses. If you pause after every line, the pauses lose weight and your scene loses momentum.
- You have to release every emotion/impulse, or you end up being cut-off in the scene.
- Impulses can carry you through many lines if you let them. You can't wait for a new impulse for every line, or the scene won't go anywhere.
- You should never hold yourself. You should let out everything you have while you're on the stage. Once a scene is played, you shouldn't want to (or be able to) play it again immediately. If you can, it's a sign that you didn't put everything you had into it the first time around.
- You have to be careful not to enter into a "movement storm", doing random things while on stage, as it could hinder your ability to follow your impulses and connect with your partner (although we have at least one person in our class, Big Show, who does a pretty great job of following his impulses DESPITE his movement storms).
- You can't let there be anything precious about acting a scene. You have to feel things and just go with them.
- Do not portion your breath when acting. It makes your voice passive, undynamic, and small.
- You shouldn't play the problem in the scene; you should solve the problem.

I was going to attend The Winter's Tale tonight, but decided instead to go to the student lounge and watch the archival tape we have of the performance. I only watched the scenes that Paulina (the character I'm understudying) is in. I'd watch the scene once. Then the second time, I'd pause at all my cue lines and try to say the correct line. I'd then hit play and see if I got it right. I think I'm doing alright, but the real test will be at our rehearsals this coming weekend.

For Analysis class tomorrow, our assignment is to read most of Brecht on Theatre and do some research into it. Wish me luck.


Tuesday, February 17

I've been down a computer the last couple of days, but I have borrowed one of my roommates' computers (2nd-year NP. I also live with 3rd-year HK). And now I have a lot to catch up on!

Saturday morning was our official full understudy run for The Imaginary Invalid, and it actually went really well! I didn't forget my lines or my blocking. There were no really major flubs by anyone, actually. We were pretty awesome. A bunch of other 1st, 2nd, and 3rd years came to support us, as well as one of my donors and one of my friends.

Really, it just felt great to be on stage again. It feels like it's been eons since I was last in a real play on a real stage... and it was a marvelous feeling. This is what I'm built for.

Afterwards, Analysis Professor (who directed it) gave us notes. The biggest note was to stop playing the comedy, and instead to play the objectives. If you try to make a joke work, it won't. It's a good piece of advice for any comedy.

I went to see The Winter's Tale again on Friday. I'm still not sure that I've got everything down blocking-wise (although I'm doing better on the lines than I was the last time I saw it). We'll have our understudy rehearsals for that next weekend.

I also went to a student-produced Love Late Night on Valentine's Day. A bunch of students (1st, 2nd, and 3rd years) did songs, scenes, monologues, sonnets, and choreography all based on the theme of love.

The best part of the Love Late Night? At the very end of it, Iceman invited his girlfriend on stage... and PROPOSED!!! It was the sweetest thing ever! And she said yes! (Well, nodded, actually... but it was a yes.) Congratulations Iceman & Icegirl!

On Sunday, several of us were called for set load-in for Miss Julie. Luckily, it went pretty fast (despite the fact that we had to move a really tall platform and some staircases). Today we had the props load-in, which literally took about 7 minutes. I hope strike goes as easily.

Today was the first day of our tumbling unit! SO EXCITING!

Movement Professor gave us a handout giving some information about the tumbling unit...

The objectives and goals of this unit are:
1. To become habituated to taking new risks, through risking in new physical activities, or in improving skills you already know, in new ways. The habituating of physical risk strengthens the actor's ability to embrace emotional risk onstage.
2. To work on physical skills that you may use in your career, particularly within contemporary productions, which are often highly physical and use these forms of movement.
3. To habituate ways of doing tumbling and lifts that are safe for your body, so that you can do those moves as you grow older without injury.
4. To continue to work on partnering and ensemble skills and creation of a sage environment for creative exploration, through spotting each other, watching each other, and helping each other. These skills apply directly to professional rehearsal situations and should be practiced at all times.
5. To gain strength, flexibility, range of movement, and increased coordination. Tumbling and acrobatics quickly strengthen core, arm, and leg strength. They also help actors to become more in control of their bodies at all times, and increase actors' facility in picking up physical material. This last prepares actors for dance.

Every day you will go through a series of moves and strengthening activities. The class will progress together at the beginning of the unit. As you get better, I will begin to individuate degree of difficulty for the moves, and people will be required to do different things. At no time should anyone think that they are not doing well, unless they hear so from me. You will develop, safely, under my supervision with my mind and eye constantly on your body and form, looking out for your safety.

Here are three rules that must be followed:
1. Never do anything that you do not feel ready to do, even if I ask you to. Tell me so. Your body will tell you when it wants to move on.
2. Keep all talking to an absolute minimum and keep your eyes on your classmates' progress. Be careful about distracting people working on the mat.
3. If I shout, "STOP!", stop safely, but immediately. It means that I see something dangerous that must stop immediately, for your safety. I make that call, not you.

No one has EVER been injured in this unit, save for a few strains. Follow these rules, listen to the directions, make required changes to your old form, and you won't be injured either. You will also progress more quickly.

She added to that the idea that we should never give each other notes in class. Getting notes from each other as well as the professor will most likely only prove confusing, and could lead to endangerment.

Today, we started with some fast and furious warm-ups after our daily rope-jumping. Then we went into our first bits of tumbling on the mats (which wasn't all that tumb-ly -- we're starting slowly).

We got our IPA tests back, and it seemed like everyone did alright. I rocked mine, and I was so relieved!

We started doing a bunch of things involving humming into our faces. At one point, we all sounded like cicadas, which was pretty amusing. And at another, Voice Professor sounded a bit like a tea kettle.

The humming is supposed to be light (easy quality), high (in pitch), and forward (from the front of the face). It's also supposed to leave space within the mouth, as though you had closed your lips onto a sound that you were making.

There was one thing we did that we decided was a "laser triangle hum". We're supposed to practice that tonight.

My scene with O.D. was a bit off today. It was disappointing to me, as it had been going really well lately. For some reason, I was completely contracted through the beginning of the scene. I thought that it was the character doing it at first, but now I'm not sure if it was the actor or the character... I don't know. It felt terribly wrong.

We discussed my character. There's this idea that she might fit the Marilyn Monroe archetype, and also that she doesn't like to be alone.

Movement Professor attended class, and gave me a lot of notes. I'm still locking my knees (which I still can't feel). She also said I'm thrusting my head forward. She said that part of the way through the scene my alignment shifted into a better position and my inner-tempo picked up (which was a good thing). She said to watch for facial tension, as that's a good indicator that something is going wrong in the rest of me.

She also said that I need to practice getting in and out of chairs while wearing a dress. I have to do this at home so that I won't be awkward about it in scenes (Angela does not wear a lot of dresses; "Hildy", my character, does.)

O.D. was told to start playing "up and out, like a fountain or a flower", which I thought was a neat note.

Acting Professor said that if you get to a spot in one of these exercises where you know you're not being truthful, you should take a second and "just resign", allowing yourself to drop out of the scene so that you can come back into it and receive truthfully.

We also discussed correcting things like knee-locking while in a scene without dropping character. If you notice a technical glitch in the scene, then ignoring it is as detrimental as denying any other impulse. If you don't correct your knee-locking/vocal quality/facial tension/etc. when you notice it, you're going to end up thinking about it for the rest of the scene and missing your other impulses as a result.

It's hard to have off days, but it's important to know that you learn just as much from them as you do from good days.

I did not finish my Titus Andronicus paper (partially due to my computer issues, and partially due to my inability to prove any thesis). I went and discussed it with Analysis Professor for a bit today. I have a good understanding of the play, but not great footing to write this paper. I'm going to keep working on it and hope that I get a better grasp on it by next class.

We watched a video of The Wooster Group's production of The Emperor Jones by Eugene O'Neill. It's apparently Brechtian in style. Mr. Jones was portrayed by a white woman in black-face. Frankly, I thought it was a visual migraine in film form. It was aurally and visually assaulting. I understand the goal of that style (to try to force an audience to reexamine the play taking other things into consideration --which, in this case, was supposed to underline the racism inherent in the writing), but I don't find it to be particularly successful. I was covering my ears (because the sound was so hostile) and looking away from the screen frequently in order to make it through.


Quotations: Volume 20

Here are some of the educational, inspirational, and humorous quotations from my classes this week:

"She was excited. She raced and raced through the apartment. And it's a small apartment. That's a lot of repetition." - Voice Professor, on her dog's reaction to her arrival home after a few days out of town

"My fingers feel like they're filled with soda." - Wifey

(Voice Professor had written our self-test on the board, and some of us had misread her writing)
Newbie: Oh. It was hair? I thought it was hall.
Voice Professor: And how would you IPA that?
Newbie: Probably incorrectly.

Movement Professor: (laughs) I love you guys.
O.D.: You have to keep reminding yourself?

"This is the sternum, and these are the middle fingers." - Movement Professor, explaining a stretch

"I would say 'luxuriate in a liquid quality of l.'" - Voice Professor

"I don't cross my final 't's. Get used to it. Luckily, your exams are typed." - Voice Professor, after some of us misread her hand-written self-test

"If you got them both right, then that's good. If you got them both wrong, then that's understandable. If you got one right and one wrong, then, why?" - Voice Professor, on using IPA for the words "rays" and "maze"

(Thrill thought he was going to have to go on in an understudy role in The Winter's Tale later that night)
Voice Professor: (to class) Tonight, go over your...
Thrill: (interrupts)Lines.
Voice Professor: Well, yes. And blocking.

"Don't be afraid. Do you know what your risking? Great acting." - Acting Professor

"Am I fool enough on stage? That's a good question to ask." - Acting Professor

"The actor's instinct is never wrong. The actor's instinct is always one-hundred-percent healthy. And yielding to it fully will always steer you right." - Acting Professor

"Don't take things too literally. You shouldn't record external characterizations because of what you're wearing. But now you're about to show up to class naked." - Acting Professor

"I saw that you were recording in character. I knew it would affect you, but I didn't know how. It was either going to be super awesome or super bad." - Acting Professor, to D-Train after he recorded wearing his glasses

D-Train: You look like you got a tan or something.
Analysis Professor: It's high blood pressure.

"There's a really good joke in there, but I'll avoid it." - Analysis Professor

"Angela, stop writing things down." - Analysis Professor

"This had better not end up in your blog." - Analysis Professor (more than once)

"I can't figure out how to move now." - Big Show, not wanting to mess up his alignment after Movement Professor corrected it

"Two... Five... Eight... Twelve... Release." - Movement Professor, counting how long we should hold a stretch

(Movement Professor had been helping O.D. with something)
Movement Professor: Is anyone else horribly confused?
O.D.: Oh, thanks...
Movement Professor: I didn't mean that [O.D.] was horribly confused!
O.D.: That's okay, Eagle Eye.

(Movement Professor was demonstrating an alignment exercise that some of us were having trouble with)
Two-Shots-Up: (to Movement Professor) It looks so smooth when you do it.
Movement Professor: That might be because I made it up.

"If it makes your face do something funny, then don't do it." - Voice Professor, on how to say "Tuesday" with a liquid U

"I love that people are embarrassed about IPA-ing things wrong. That's a good sign. You're invested in it. It's very good." - Voice Professor

Voice Professor: That schwa does not have one sound. It's the diminished form of all vowels.
Thrill: So it's like a joker, and you can put it anywhere?

Voice Professor: What do we know about "aw"? (the vowel sound in "law")
All-the-Way: I hate it.
Voice Professor: You can hate it. That's fine. It's not going to help you too much, but it's fine.

(After All-the-Way and Iceman did a scene, Acting Professor commented on a missed impulse)
Acting Professor: You wanted to make a hand-rolled cigarette, didn't you.
Iceman: Yeah!... (amazed at Acting Professor's ESP) I don't know about you.
Acting Professor: Then do it.
Iceman: I didn't have any of the stuff... S***, [Acting Professor]!
Acting Professor: I see more than you think.

"Fourth grade is a troubling grade." - Voice Professor

Movement Professor: Then the e-mail body will expand, and... Wait... Did I just say 'e-mail'?
D-Train: We knew what you meant.
Killer: What DID you mean?

(The class was working with exercise balls for alignment work.)
O.D.: I think I need a bigger ball.
Movement Professor: Yes, I think you might need blue. Get down a blue ball. Forgive the joke.

"Don't use too much 'v'. It's getting all dirty-dirty today, isn't it?" - Voice Professor

"Some professors are your good mommies. And some professors are your bad mommies. That's me. I'm your bad mommy." - Analysis Professor, on his teaching style

"When I say 'sole of the foot', I really mean S-O-U-L." - Movement Professor

"Try to explain it. Character is nervous, but I am not? What? Character is crying, but I am fine? What? You cannot explain it. You have to do it." - Acting Professor

"Start storing it. Start storing it so that when it's time for your cannon to shoot, you've got so much powder." - Acting Professor

Analysis Professor: No. You're not sitting in a comfy chair. No comfy chairs in my class.
D-Train: It's not comfy! I swear!
Analysis Professor: If your eyelid starts to droop, so help me God, I'll throw my books at you.

Analysis Professor: 'Subtle hole whose mouth is covered with rude brains.' 'Unhallowed and bloodstained hole.' 'Gaping hollow.' What is Shakespeare talking about here?
All-the-Way: Sex.
Analysis Professor: Not just sex, dear-heart.
All-the-Way: Vaginas.
Analysis Professor: It is the vagina dentata. We gay men are not the only ones who fear vaginas.

"This play, in a sense, is, 'Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill. Baby. Don't kill baby. Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill." - Thrill, on Titus Andronicus, specifically on the character of Aaron

"[Thrill] I could kiss you for bringing that up." - Analysis Professor

(Discussing the connections between sex and vengeance in Titus Andronicus)
All-the-Way: Is it like lust and bloodlust?
Analysis Professor: Yes. Exactly. Lust and bloodlust are the same in this play.

O.D.: (Agreeing with Analysis Professor) Yeah. Wow. It's like I'm learning... in class.
Analysis Professor: How novel.

"Feeding her children to her, and asking her if she likes it. While dressed as a chef, which I think is wonderful." - Big Show

(On the somewhat superfluous death of the nurse in Titus Andronicus)
D-Train: Well, someone had to die.
Killer: It's been awhile.
D-Train: (Checks imaginary watch) It was time.

(During an exercise in class, someone knocked on the door. Big Show answered the door in character, and then ad libbed this:)
"Some dumb-a** moron got the wrong house." - Big Show

"A lot of it is being your own Sigmund Freud. And saving a hell of a lot on those bills." - Acting Professor, on how you have to get in touch with yourself in your acting so that you won't be blocking the character

D-Train: (before an exercise) I'm not responsible for anything that's about to happen.
Acting Professor: That's... wonderful.
Killer: I like that philosophy.
Acting Professor: It was a beautiful disclaimer.

(after talking about how being impulsive or not in life is sometimes cultural, O.D. and Two-Shots-Up said that they think Jewish culture and Black culture are two that are more free with their impulses.)
O.D.: That's why you don't need to go to conservatory, [Two-Shots-Up]. It's because you're black.
Acting Professor: Then what's your excuse?
O.D.: I need to pray more.


Thursday, February 12

I have to say, our alignment work is really working. The last few class days, when I've gotten in my car at lunchtime, I've had to adjust my rear-view mirror up (and then down a little the next morning). I didn't really think about it... but then I realized: after alignment work, I'm TALLER. My spine is lengthened or straightened or something. If that's not proof that our alignment training works, I don't know what is.

I was partnered with D-Train and Two-Shots-Up today to observe each other's alignment. Both of them said that they could really tell a difference between how aligned I am now in comparison to when I got here. And I can really see it in some of my classmates, too (D-Train thinks he's grown a full inch and a half. And O.D. is SO much more even than he used to be).

Our alignment work today involved using exercise balls. It made me dizzy and tired, but in the end, my back felt AWESOME.

We have a "check-up" tomorrow (which is the Movement Class equivalent of a test... sort of) to make sure that we've learned everything properly.

I did really well on my IPA stuff today. Turns out, my Voice Professor will accept "children" with a "sit", "met" OR "gum" vowel at the end (I wrote all three on my paper... and I decided that I think that "sit" makes the most sense).

I think I've gotten to a place where I can hear all the vowels, but it's often a matter of whether I have already learned the Standard American pronunciation or the General American one (we're being tested in Standard American, which is a dialect in and of itself... it feels pretty foreign a lot of the time).

We have our official test tomorrow (the one that gets graded). As long as I don't make any stupid mistakes (like using an "h" in a word like "honest" where it's silent... or using two "l"s in "tallest" when it's only one "l" sound), I should be fine.

ETA: Also, it turns out I'm pretty good at saying the vowel in "voice". It's supposed to be an "aw" + "ih", as opposed to an "oh" + "ee".

O.D. and I did our full story for the first time today. When it started, I received him as being creepy and weird, so I (or, rather, my character) evolved into being someone who was ready to fight if attacked. And from there, she changed entirely. Instead of being someone who was settling and lost, she was manipulative and sarcastic. It felt really truthful (and actually made total sense), but when it finished, I felt like I'd done something wrong.

Acting Professor encouraged it entirely. He said that it was the first time that O.D. and I had really found the "Vonnegut" in the story. He says that Vonnegut's writing (like O. Henry before him) has "no sentimentality whatsoever", but people project it onto his works a great deal. He said that we found a way to make it clear that the characters were misunderstanding each other. So that's cool. If that's the case, then I really had been misinterpreting the story. I hope that we can reconcile what we found today with things that we've found in past runs.

A couple of other cool things happened today. Thrill found a way to be calm as an actor while playing a nervous character. And Killer found a way to get to an upset, emotional place as a character while being comfortable and happy as an actor. It showed how well the technique we're learning is working.

The class had been divided into three groups to present parts of Titus Andronicus: plot, character, and imagery. I was in the imagery group.

Iceman and I did tag-team presenting on the mythology imagery. I thought it went pretty well (although really, we could've spent another half hour on mythology if time had allowed, easily).

I'm going to try to start working on my paper on Saturday, as it's due Tuesday. Wish me luck.

Killer went on for Imaginary Invalid for the third time today, which means he can officially put the role on his résumé without calling himself an understudy. Awesome! I went to see it again (to watch the blocking once more in preparation for the understudy run-through on Saturday morning), and he did a great job. It looks like Thrill might go on as Young Shepherd in The Winter's Tale tomorrow night. I'm praying for him. :)


Wednesday, February 11

We continued doing alignment work focusing on our arms. My arms and torso are pretty loose parts of my body already, so I don't always feel the effects of what we're doing right away. But for some of my classmates, these things are helping a lot. Big Show said today that something Movement Professor did to his arm made it feel better than it has in years (he had an old injury there). It's good to know that the things we're doing are working, even though it's not always easy to feel the differences in myself.

More IPA practice exams to prepare us for the real thing on Friday. I tried to do mine today without using my vowel chart (as we won't be able to on the real test). I got one of the symbols for a diphthong wrong, but I knew what I meant. :) The word that proved the trickiest for me today was "firefly". The first syllable has a triphthong in it, which I didn't hear when I was writing it out. Oh well. I'm still doing a lot better on this stuff than I was.

I'm starting to understand the "All/Honest/Fathers" differentiations. It turns out that this is one case in which being "seduced by the spellings" of words (something that Voice Professor usually warns against) is not always a bad idea.

Voice Professor gave us a take-home practice exam. I can already tell you that the word I'm not sure on is "children" (I THINK that the last syllable has the "met" vowel, but I wouldn't be shocked if it's the "sit" vowel or the "run" vowel). In theory, I could just look it up in my pronunciation dictionary, but somehow that feels like cheating (even though this is only a practice test, and it is not being graded... I am moral beyond defensible logic, apparently).

We're still chugging along on our Vonnegut scenes. Big Show and Wifey had a particularly emotion-filled run of theirs today. All-the-Way and Iceman have found a really layered and complex take on theirs. In general, everyone is just really doing great work. More importantly, everyone is consistently improving. Our characters are growing, our stories are growing, and clearly we are growing as actors.

I got together with my group for Analysis class briefly to discuss how we're diving up things for our presentation on the use of imagery in Titus Andronicus. There's so much of it... I hope that the four of us will be able to squeeze everything into our allotted 25 minutes.

I've had box office duty several times recently (I filled in for Killer tonight, as he was going on in The Imaginary Invalid again). One of the people who worked there asked me if I thought that working there was teaching me anything that would help me in the future. I told her that more than anything, it has shown me how much people in box offices get abused. I will always be kind and patient to them, especially when asking for comps. :)


Tuesday, February 10

Hello to all prospective students of my grad school! I understand that some people have been directed to this blog by my professors. If you have any questions (seriously, anything... no matter how random), by all means, email me. I usually respond to emails as soon as I get them. angelaacts(at)gmail.com

Today our alignment work focused on our arms. We did one thing that made most people's hands tingle. And we've now learned The Fish, which is a tremoring position that we hadn't learned in Voice class (it's seems like it's a position that requires supervision; I can see how someone could get injured if they weren't being careful).

We spent the day doing self-testing. The words we're practicing with seem to be getting progressively more difficult. The words I messed up today were "arrow" (I used a schwa with r-coloring, when I should've used a linking-r because it's intervocalic) and "jury" (for the middle vowel, I used the one in the word "stir". It's actually supposed to be the vowel in the word "would").

We briefly discussed when to use "liquid-u" sounds (which is when you say a "y"-ish sound before a "u"). The general rule is to use liquid-u sounds after the letters "t", "d", "n", and sometimes "l" (hence why "Tuesday", "duty", and "new" have them, but "crew" doesn't).

We also discussed the regional substitution of the "sit" vowel for the "met" vowel. For example, in some parts of the country, "pin" and "pen" sound the same (also "tin/ten", "tint/tent"). It happens in words that are spelled with "en" and "em". For example, one of my classmates used the "sit" substitution in the word "September". If you have that substitution, it's something that you have to pay special attention to when learning lines (I suppose "attention" and "when" are good examples, actually).

Tonight our homework is to review the vowels of "all", "honest", and "fathers".

Student Rep
My student rep meeting today was when I was informed that my professors now know about my blog. *waves to Analysis Professor* Luckily, they don't plan to sue me. :) But I did get a couple of "Don't you dare put that on your blog!" comments during the day.

We discussed how important it is to be fully accepting of the character you're playing. If you can find a way to love the character, that is 90% of your success.

Our professor also said not to keep your foot on the break in your acting unless you're doing film work.

When recording our lines (which is sort of like memorizing them... but not), it's important to keep openness through the chest, a sense of expansion, and to continue to send and land with the voice. If you do this as you're putting the lines into your brain, you will continue to do it with those things in mind during the scene without having to focus on them.

My scene with O.D. went pretty well, I thought. We ended up doing far more of the scene than we had anticipated (3 pages more than we had recorded, in fact... but the lines just started saying themselves).

Our Movement Professor attended class today. She let me know that I was locking my knees from the moment I stepped on stage. It's still really difficult for me to neither lock my knees nor bend them. I feel a little unstable (which is probably because I'm not connecting my psoas muscles through my body properly). But I'm working on it.

I was told to record keeping my hands away from my face, and without tensing my hands. At the moment, I'm not recording enough ease. I was also given the note that I need to be more comfortable in my costume (I thought I was comfortable in it... but apparently it's not reading that way). I also need to make sure I'm sending and landing all my lines (which is not always easy to do when you're in an intimate scene).

We discussed Act 4, Scene vi of King Lear, which was the scene that we had researched, dissected, summarized, and paraphrased for class today. Our Analysis Professor refers to it as being "the most meta-theatrical scene in all of Shakespeare." In the Elizabethan era, most scenery was created through descriptive language, as opposed to actual sets. In this scene, a man (Edgar, disguised as Poor Tom of Bedlam) is trying to convince a blind man (Gloucester, his father) that they are on a very high, very dangerous cliff. In actuality, they are on level ground. The scene is therefore written in a way that allows Edgar to fool Gloucester with his description, but allows the audience to understand that they are not, in fact on this imaginary cliff.

We're presenting various aspects of Titus Andronicus on Thursday. I'm in the "Imagery/Mythology" group with All-the-Way, Wifey, and Iceman. And then I have a paper on the action of that play (using the imagery from my research to support it) due Monday.

Today was a big milestone for my class; it was the first time that one of us has had to go on for an understudy role. Killer went on for Claude DeAria in The Imaginary Invalid. Several of us went to see it and support him. He did a really terrific job, and made us incredibly proud. CONGRATULATIONS KILLER!

Our Imaginary Invalid understudy run is on Saturday morning at 9am (yeesh... I'm not used to having to act that early in the morning). I know Analysis Professor will be there, and some of the other professors might be as well (as well as donors, classmates, and friends). I'm actually looking forward to it. I think I've got it pretty well down at this point. I think it'll be fun. And getting to act on that stage will be a total thrill.

I'm going to try to see The Winter's Tale again tomorrow. I haven't seen it since opening night, so I really need to.

All good things,



Quotations: Volume 19

Here are some of the educational, inspirational, and humorous quotations from my classes this week:

(talking to Iceman about the dialect for the role he's understudying in The Devil's Disciple. It's a Shaw play that takes place during the American Revolution)
Voice Professor: Oh, you have one line. And we've already decided how he's going to say it. Go to him. It has a little bit of flavor to it.
Killer: Jamaican.

"No one should be discouraged about the "all/honest/fathers" vowels, because those are the most difficult to tell apart. If you're having trouble with "green" and "sit", then you should be discouraged." - Voice Professor

"I accidentally picked up two cigarettes because I confused them with chalk." - Voice Professor, when prop cigarettes from a scene were left in the chalk well at the blackboard

"I hate that I keep getting duped by those cigarettes!" - Voice Professor, prompting me to throw them away

Two-Shots-Up: So if I have trouble with vowels, can I call you for help?
Voice Professor: No, that is not a vocal emergency.
Two-Shots-Up: But it's vocal trow-ma (she intentionally uses the wrong vowel for "trauma").
Voice Professor: If you call me and say "trow-ma", I will take the call.

"'Blocking' is a terrible word. It should be 'moving.' Or 'traffic patterns.'" - Movement Professor

"If the character is not a plant rather than a construction, there is a problem." - Acting Professor

"Who does he think he is, this Newt the snoot?" - Acting Professor, about Iceman's character Newt from the Vonnegut story "The Long Walk to Forever"

Movement Professor: (to Iceman) I'm seeing tension in your temples. [...] I'm guessing it's a habit from thinking.
Acting Professor: (emphatically) Stop. Thinking.

"If five minutes up to the curtain no one is nailing something in on stage, it's not theatre." - Acting Professor, quoting someone who was nailing something in to the set of a show he directed five minutes before curtain on opening night

Acting Professor: (to Thrill) Are you going to try your scene with [Two-Shots-Up]?
Thrill: Yup.
Acting Professor: Give her a spin?
Thrill: Yup.

"That's not a character. That's a characterization. And that art is dead. We still see it, but it's dead." - Acting Professor, on working externally

"It leaves out something; the entire universe of the character." - Acting Professor, on working externally

"A conversation between a couple is usually a performance." - Acting Professor, on how people act in life

"I'm going to tell you a slightly dirty story." - Movement Professor

"Thirteen of my vertebrae are fused together. I tried to tell [Movement Professor]. It's like a square wheel; it's not going anywhere." - Newbie

Killer: (to Voice Professor) Are you the final authority on diphthongs?
Voice Professor: Totally. Final, final. Not just final; final, final, final.

"No eye-rolling. That's [Analysis Professor]'s territory." - Voice Professor

Newbie: I'm from Jersey, but I don't say "cawffee". I say it "coffee".
Voice Professor: That's absolutely correct.
Newbie: So I'll use the word "coffee" as my example for the "honest o".
Voice Professor: That's a good one for you.
Newbie: Now, what will help me with "north"?
Voice Professor: Probably nothing.
(Note: In the Standard American Dialect, "north" is supposed to be said sort of like "nawrth".)

(the class is calling out examples for various vowels)
D-Train: Fornication!
Voice Professor: Excuse me; FAWR-nication. And that will NOT be on your exam.
(Note: Iceman threw out "pornography" as another example of the weird AWR diphthong. My class is awesome.)

Thrill: This is not fun, [Voice Professor].
Voice Professor: It's not supposed to be fun. At what point did I say it was going to be fun?

(Voice Professor has been giving complicated words for our self-test)
Voice Professor: Your next word is... 'get.' I'm throwing you a bone, here.
Wifey: Don't patronize me.
(Note: At least one of my classmates ended up getting that wrong, as Southerners are used to saying "get" so that it rhymes with "sit" instead of "met")

(Newbie left the classroom to get a prop for a scene, and was gone for longer than expected)
Acting Professor: Where's [Newbie]?
Iceman: She went to get her purse. But I'm beginning to think it's down a well.

"The given circumstances are always there. Reading them right and appraising them is a different situation." - Acting Professor

"It seems to me... Thank God [Analysis Professor]'s not here." - Big Show, prefacing an opinion in Analysis class that our professor might not have liked while we had a substitute

"How could you take my eyes? You piece of s***, I let you use my shower!" - D-Train, explaining Gloucester's state of mind in King Lear

"He's [O.D.]-alyzing it." - Killer, referring to how O.D. analyzes things in his own way

Substitute Voice Instructor: We'll be doing lots of IPA today.
D-Train: I actually really like IPA.
Me: I like the parts of IPA that I understand. The rest of it can blow me.

"Cashmere... Aha! I see that trickiness!" - Killer, analyzing a word on our IPA self-test

Movement Professor: (inquiring about how many psoas folds we had done) Do we have one or two more of these?
D-Train: Nein.
Movement Professor: Nine?!
D-Train: Nein. I mean, none. I mean nein meaning no. German.

"And then you need to move your... What are these called... Ankles!" - Movement Professor

"One time back at Harvard, I couldn't remember what these were called. (points to knees) I just could NOT remember. And I thought, 'Oh my God, I've lost my mind.'" - Movement Professor

"That's what I have, so it's right." - Big Show, verifying Killer's IPA self-test answer.

"Is your boyf--, is your wife--, is your husband here?" - Thrill, getting tripped up when asking Substitute Voice Instructor about her husband

"[Killer], I understand that you're an expert on the female soul, but I want to hear from her." - Acting Professor to Killer, after he volunteered to explain the romantic psychology of Wifey's character

"You were torturing him, and it was so delicious and so pleasurable." - Acting Professor, to Wifey about her work on Vonnegut's "A Night for Life"

"If we want to be monkeys, then of course we can use outer-technique. But if we want to be artists, then we see that there is only one technique for both inner and outer, and it starts from the inner-technique." - Acting Professor

"Vonnegut is not a naturalist; he's a realist with a wonderful sense of humor." - Acting Professor

"Let it. Just let it." - Acting Professor (repeated line)

"[D-Train] had trouble at the beginning, and you saw him go, 'S***! What the f-... What the hell am I doing?'" - Acting Professor

Acting Professor: Ah! He didn't rush. The problem was that he looked back.
D-Train: I did. I did, and I turned into a friggin' pillar of salt.

"I am a prepared actor. I check my props." - Thrill, after D-Train suggested that he get papers that Thrill had already pre-set


Friday, February 6

Two day catch-up!

We've been continuing with our Eginton Alignment work, and have now also begun to incorporate Fitzmaurice voice work into it. It involves a lot of lying on the floor, and a bit of tremoring.

I'll be honest; most of the things that we're working with are so minute in scale that it's hard for me to feel them. But after class when I look at my alignment in the mirror, the effect is massively evident. I'm already straighter than I was even just 5 days ago. It's pretty great.

Yesterday we focused a lot on two pairs of vowel sounds that are tricky to distinguish whether you should use the diphthong or not.

e (alien) vs. eI (pay)


o (obey) vs. oU (dough)

In general, it seems like if the word starts with those vowels, there's no diphthong, but if the vowel is anyplace else in the word, there is a diphthong. But don't quote me, because I'm sure there are probably exceptions to that.

We've been doing a lot of self-testing now, where our Voice Professor (or the substitute we had today, who is actually the woman I'm understudying in The Imaginary Invalid) will read off a words, and we'll attempt to put them into IPA on our own. I've done fairly well, actually. The only words that have tripped me up so far have been "lawnmower" (I used a diphthong for "ower" instead of a triphthong) and "loudest" (I used the "met" vowel for the second syllable, but it apparently should be the "sit" vowel).

Today was totally Breakthrough City for my classmates. People are doing seriously beautiful work. It's pretty great to witness it.

O.D. and I did a chunk of our scene yesterday, and it went pretty well. I've still been doing the scene in the costume from Wednesday and no glasses (because contacts didn't exist in the time period, and there's no way my character would've worn glasses to a party).

My classmates said that my character's backstory is becoming more evident in the scenework as I'm connecting to the material better. It feels good.

We discussed Lear with our substitute teacher (she works in the admin). I think I have a pretty good handle on the scene we're supposed to be paraphrasing.

By the way... I never posted pictures of my floral design from Acting class, so here it is (taken two days after I made it, so it was already sort of dying).

Oh, and Iceman took a picture of me on Vocal Rest at the Blur strike. Proof that I'm an obedient student.


Wednesday, February 4

More alignment review.

I know that this alignment work is good for me (and have seen the results from it -- it's all definitely working), but sometimes it's hard to feel the benefits in the moment. My body is really loose (too loose, in fact), so I don't feel stretches that my classmates do. And sometimes I can't feel whether I'm moving the correct parts of my body (like different sections of my spine, or muscles deep inside the body like the psoas). I feel like I'm just filled with dead zones. It's occasionally frustrating.

We started diphthongs today. I think I have a pretty good handle on them. The ones we started with were in the words "here", "pay", "air", and "like".

I've had questions about the "air" diphthong for a long time, as it changes a great deal with different dialects. For example, in my dialect, "marry", "merry", and "Mary" sound the same. In other parts of the country, those are three different vowel sounds. Likewise, I think "Barry", "berry" and "bury" are homophones, whereas others might not. Same with "fairy" and "ferry". We didn't really discuss it much, so I guess I'll have to start looking things up in my Pronunciation Dictionary.

RANDOM TANGENT: my latest weird find in my Pronunciation Dictionary came when I looked up "oral" and "aural". I say the two words differently (so that "oral" starts with a sound similar to "obey", and "aural" starts with a sound like "awe"), but I've heard people say them the same (both with the "obey"-ish vowel). According to my dictionary, they should sound the same... but both should have the "awe" vowel. SO WEIRD.

Our homework for tonight is to come up with 4 examples of each of those diphthongs and IPA them.

I put on a black party dress, pantyhose, high heels, an "engagement ring", and make-up before class today in order to be as close to the correct state of my character as possible. I also took off my glasses and did the scene with the world looking a little bit blurry.

Things were a little shaky at the start (I denied a couple of impulses; one I was aware of, one I wasn't), but they started to flow. And not long into the scene, I suddenly had this wave of emotion flood over me. I (meaning the character, not the actor) didn't want to cry, but needed to. And so I broke down and wept (which is actually exactly what the character is supposed to do, but is something that I as an actress thought I wouldn't be able to do). I guess my professor was right about proper recording of given circumstances turning events into inevitabilities. I couldn't help but cry.

O.D. made some strides with his character as well. We got together tonight and worked for a bit on learning some more of the story (we're adapting the dialogue from a Vonnegut short story... it's not actually a play at all). I hope that it continues to bloom and grow, bloom and grow forever.


Tuesday, February 3

We were back to a normal class schedule today after a week of workshops. To be completely honest, I miss the workshops. They were a lot of fun. But now it's time to get back to the rest of my training.

We're going into our unit focusing on alignment for the next two weeks This is to help us learn a way to align ourselves and prepare for physical characterization transformation (externally). We're also focusing on combining the alignment with Fitzmaurice Voicework. And it's also to prepare us for easeful tumbling and acrobatics (our next unit) by learning more about our own anatomies and how to move at ease on a subtle level (with will make it easier to make corrections to form, and will allow us to take greater risks).

Still working on IPA stuff.

I seriously, SERIOUSLY do not understand that whole "honest/father" thing I wrote about yesterday. Luckily, it seems that I'm not alone in that. Most of my classmates are equally confused, which is somewhat reassuring.

Today we learned four new IPA vowels. The tricky thing is that they're actually technically all the same sound, but they have different markings. The sound? "Uh".

You might already know one of the indicators of this, which is a "schwa" (ə). This is used on unstressed syllables (like the first vowel in "apartment", the middle of "grenadine", or the end of "sofa"). The second is a "hut" (ʌ), which is the same thing but for stressed syllables (like the first in "hugging", the middle of "alumni", or the end of "corrupt").

The other two are used if the "uh" sound is followed by an "r". If it's stressed or one-syllable (like "girl", "unfurl", or "earnest"), then it's one symbol (ɜː), and if it's unstressed (like "lighter", "evergreen", or "other") then it's another (cannot find symbol).

So our homework for tonight is to find 2 examples of each of those (which I just realized that I accidentally did while writing this blog post... I'm awesome) and IPA them.

Our Movement Professor is going to start attending our Tuesday Acting classes, and today was her first day coming.

In our scene work, we've started to discuss making things repeatable (as they would need to be if you were actually in a show). The idea is that whatever "choices" you would make need to be justified through inner-technique. If you record your given circumstances in a way that involves them, then they will become inevitablilies. Therefore, you will not be making choices while acting, but rather the choices will be making themselves.

Our Acting Professor says that perhaps the worst crime of translation that has ever been committed in the world of theatre was the title of one of Stanislavski's books. The English title is "Building a Character", which my professor says is something that Stanislavski fought against. He wanted actors to be organic. The proper title should be something like "Growing a Character" or "Creating a Character". The idea of building or constructing anything is a mistake.

O.D. and I did a little snippet of our scene, but it didn't go particularly well today. Not having rehearsal costumes screwed things up a bit. Additionally, my Movement Professor said that my alignment was way off (more than usual), and that I'm going to be limited as an actor until I can fix it. So I guess I'm really going to have to work in the next couple of weeks.

Our professor is still out of town, so someone who works for the Rep theatre ran our class today. She was really great, and we took on the next chunk of King Lear pretty slowly, reading it aloud (hey, when you've got a classroom full of actors, you might as well use them).


Monday, February 2

Okay, first of all, how did it get to be February?

Stage Combat Workshop
The 1st-years were given permission to observe the 2nd-years certification exam. The exam is in two parts. In the first, the actors do the fight that they've been working on in the context of a scene, to show that they can safely use their choreography in a way that forwards a story. In the second part, the SAFD Master shows them new moves (to see if they've just learned one fight, or if they've learned HOW to fight). There are only 11 Masters in the USA right now, and they do all the recognition exams.

I am happy to report that all of the 2nd-years passed their exam with flying colors, and are now all recognized as actor-combatants in unarmed combat by the SAFD!

It was really cool to watch, and the Master guy even let the 1st-years who came participate in the second part a bit.

I'm glad I went. I'm so much less nervous now about the certification process than I was before. I'm confident that my whole class is going to pass next year.

On Camera Workshop
I wish the Film Students were ALWAYS in our town. They were so much fun to work with, and I think we ALL learned a great deal from the experience.

We spent the weekend shooting scenes. My scene partner (2nd-year BW) and I shot the same scene with two different directors (once on Saturday, once on Sunday). They had different interpretations of what was going on in the scene, and it was neat to see how that ended up playing out in the final product.

One of the things that I thought was especially cool was watching how each of the directors edited things together from the different takes. So much of the story-telling is done in editing. I had no idea.

We watched all of the scenes as a group (actors and directors), which was a lot of fun. It's interesting how differently we all looked at the same product, though. Due to the differences in our training, we're focusing on different things. When I was on screen, I kept thinking about my sibilant "s" sounds, and watching myself deny impulses. But when I spoke with directors, they commented on things like lighting and continuity.

After watching them, we had a discussion about what directors want from actors, and what actors want from directors. It was then that I realized that I'd been treating that film project differently than I approach theatre, and not in a good way. I'd been looking at it less as a collaborative effort and more as trying to do what the director wanted. On stage, you're an asset if you bring in your own ideas. I don't know why it didn't occur to me that it's the same in film.

All in all, it was an incredibly valuable experience, and I hope that we're able to do it again next year. I also hope I get the chance to work with these directors again. I know that they're going to need actors for film projects they're doing this summer, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that someone thinks of me for something.

Tonight we came back to reality after a week of workshops.

I got together with Thrill and Two-Shots-Up to work on our Shakespeare homework. We went through the scene we're dissecting from King Lear line by line to make sure that we knew what was happening in all of it. The homework assignment we have is rather like our sonnet paraphrase. We have to go through the whole scene looking up every word (or at least every word that might've meant something different to Shakespeare than it means to us), and write out all the possible definitions that we find (in as many sources as possible), then marking the ones that were most helpful to us. Then we have to go through and paraphrase the scene, keeping as much of the sense of the original text as possible.

We also worked on our Voice homework, which I think was to make lists of ten words each (and IPA) for the vowels in "honest" and "father". And I realized, I seriously do not understand the "honest" vowel. I don't think I use one. Every word that is on our example page for "honest" sounds like a different vowel to me.

For example:

- "omlette" is the "honest" vowel, and "Amish" is the "father" vowel. I say the "om/Am" exactly the same for both.

- "laurel" is the "honest" vowel, but I say it "or" (although I'm probably saying "or" incorrectly as well).

- "long" is the "honest" vowel, but I say it like "law".

Actually, I'm pretty sure I even say "honest" with the "father" vowel. And therefore, I am confused to no end. I'm pretty sure that whatever I turn in tomorrow is going to be completely wrong.