Wednesday, September 30

We started with a Neti-Pot demonstration from Voice Professor. Only a few of us went to watch. For those not familiar with Neti-Pot-ing, the best way I can think to describe it is "nasal irrigation". It's really freaky to watch, but apparently it really clears out your sinuses. I'm going to try it.

Today was the first day of scansion! WOO-HOO! I love scansion. Really, I'm just a big old language geek in general (especially when it comes to Shakespearian whatnot), so I'm pretty stoked. The biggest challenge for me during this unit is going to be keeping my mouth shut when I know things that other people are still learning.

More contact improve off the mats. I went with O.D., and it was fun. We had a lot of starting and stopping, but it felt playful and I think we took some good risks.

Over lunch, All-The-Way and I had a rehearsal with Acting Professoressa to work on our Hermione/Andromache scene. It's really coming along, I think. We have a better sense of topping each other. I'm now trying to teach Hermione things in order to get her over to my side, as opposed to just telling her she's wrong and letting it turn into me fighting with her because I hate her.

During class, we worked on Electra. I had a stomachache through most of it, so I didn't write down any notes.

We did a reading of the second act (Ghost Children). It seemed to go pretty well.

We started blocking the first act (The Filmmaker's Mystery). I'm in the opening (the prologue?), and then not again for awhile. It's nice to start seeing things on their feet.


Tuesday, September 29

NOTE: I don't know if I'm going to be able to blog on a regular basis this week. My beloved computer, Lady MacBook, is broken. I'm typing on a computer at school tonight, but I make no promises about my willingness to do this every night after rehearsal, as what I really want to do right now is go home.

We had our vocal extremes exam today. I did better on my shouting than my screaming, I think. I did pretty terribly on my head-roll-hum, because I always put my head too far back (apparently, my neck is one of the things I have that's a little too flexible).

Some people started doing contact improv without the safeguard of doing it on mats (as we have been). I wasn't really ready for that (I'm a bit of a thrasher-and-crasher), but maybe I will be later in the week.

I was paired up with Wifey today. It was our first time working together, and it was really fun.

We worked on Andromache again. I just haven't been trusting myself as much as I need to. My self-esteem has kind of taken a beating in the last few weeks of my life, and it's not making me a particularly good actor. I hope my faith in myself comes back soon.

Over the weekend, we did a TON of tablework. We finally finished with it today. The way the play is written, each act is like a separate play (with a little crossover). We did another readthrough of the first act, "The Filmmaker's Mystery", at the end of rehearsal with the goal of incorporating notes from tablework. Tomorrow, we'll start rehearsal with a readthrough of the second act, "Ghost Children".


Quotations: Volume 33

Here are some of the educational, inspirational, and humorous quotations from my classes this week:
(Disclaimer: quotations are often taken out of context and may not accurately reflect the way they were originally intended)

Wifey: So, can we begin screaming in The Greeks now, or should we still mark it?
Voice Professor: See if you can do silent screaming today.
Newbie: But most of the screaming is off-stage. The screams are cues.
Voice Professor: Wow, that would really mess with [Acting Professoressa]'s head.

"Up and two, and down and two. And up and two, and down and two. And miniskirts and two, and shorts and two. And briefs and two, and speedo and two. And catsuit and two, and scuba-gear and two."
- Movement Professor, giving counts for leg lifts that are toning our bums and thighs

"I love cashews... and popcorn... and gin!"
- Acting Professoressa, demonstrating how lists should be said as though you have no idea what you're going to say next, or IF you're going to say something else.

"Be interested, not interesting."
- Acting Professoressa, on not indicating

"[Wifey], make more of your motto, 'never get involved'. It's embroidered on every pillow in your house. It's on your favorite coffee mug."
- Acting Professoressa, on how Wifey should think of her role as Chrysothemis in Andromache

"This is called the 'air in the armpit theory'."
- Acting Professoressa, on how there should be space between your arms and your body, both to allow for period costumes and to give an character higher status

"That's the La Brea tar pit of 'p-ing the p', and you did step a little in the muck today, although you didn't get fully pulled under."
- Acting Professoressa, on the subject of "playing the problem"

(after Thrill had attempted a motivated scream)
Voice Professor: It started off good, but then the arc got a little off.
Thrill: I was falling off the cliff, though.

"That scared the hell out of me."
- Big Show, regarding his scream in Voice class

Voice Professor: So [Thrill], take a line of text, and think of why you're yelling, your intention, and who you're talking to.
Thrill: You want me to do all that? [Voice Professor], I am not an actor.
Voice Professor: [Thrill], you don't need to tell me that, but we're gonna work on it.

"And people f***ing loved me for it."
- Thrill, using his chosen line of text for a shouting/yelling exercise in Voice class

Acting Professoressa: I read an article that said that if you want to avoid getting the flu, getting sick, that the most important thing to do is get sleep.
All-The-Way: Easier said that done, [Acting Professoressa].
Big Show: Clearly, the pecker who wrote that article doesn't attend the [Conservatory].

"And that means... when I open the pumpkin... I can go to the window... where the murder weapon was!"
- Acting Professoressa, demonstrating the importance of figuring things out in the moment

"Dive-bombing the crotch is not necessary."
- Acting Professoressa, after Iceman buried himself in Newbie's lap during a hug in Helen

"If you try to support a laugh, it comes out fakey-fake."
- Voice Professor

Movement Professor: You all hate me now, but just wait to see what these exercises are doing for your core.
Angela: I know! Have you seen my stomach? It's like a whole new world for me.
Iceman: (singing to the tune of "A Whole New World" with the line "Indescribable feeling") "Now your psoas is glowing!"

"Obviously haven't been smoking enough."
- Acting Professoressa, after she had a coughing fit

(A LITTLE CONTEXT: Big Show and D-Train have a scene in The Mystery Plays where they're on a train and each is trying to figure out if the other is also gay. Killer is playing a gay man in Eight, and has had tutorials with Head of Program to learn more about gay culture, which Head of Program once referred to as "homo lessons").
Head of Program: (to D-Train) I'm gonna have to coach you on gay cruising.
All-The-Way: Is he gonna get homo lessons, too?
Head of Program: (points to Big Show and D-Train) They're both getting homo lessons.

"You can make a sexual contact by doing nothing more than smiling, and holding eye contact a fraction of a second more than most people would. Take notes, boys; I've been there."
- Head of Program

"You have to discover that the world you were taught as a Catholic kid is even darker than you imagined."
- Head of Program, referring to the "sin-eater" in The Mystery Plays

"Always be alert to what's underneath the text."
- Head of Program

D-Train: Maybe this is a stupid question...
Head of Program: (interrupting) I'll be the first to tell you that it is. You know that.

(while discussing a line in The Mystery Plays that implies that a character believes that Hugh Jackman might be gay)
"I attended a performance of The Boy from Oz where he auctioned off the t-shirt he had worn in the show for Equity Fights Aids. He got five thousand bucks for it. For a sweaty, disgusting t-shirt. I didn't have my checkbook on me, or I would have gotten it for six."
- Head of Program

Head of Program: Remember, Miss Scarlet, you have to eat before you go to the dance.
D-Train: What does that mean?
Head of Program: (sighs) I'll explain it to you later.

"If you write that down, I will kill you."
- Head of Program, to me as I was about to write down one of his quotations from rehearsal


Friday, September 25

The reason that we do vocal extremes preparation is because we want our work to be understandable even though it's in heightened moments. We started moving on to other vocal extremes besides screaming, such as shouting, wailing, crying, and laughing. Voice Professor says that in laughing and crying, your body is doing basically the same thing: going into rib squeeze. There's no way to prevent it (and try to support well) without it sounding really fake and terrible.

In one of my lines in The Greeks, I shout "Sh, look! I'm leaving!", so I asked Voice Professor what I should do to go from the unvoiced sustained "sh" into a shout. She said not even to try putting it in one breath, as a "sh" takes so much breath out of you. So I'm taking a cheat breath after "sh" now.

We have our exam over this work on Tuesday. We're supposed to prepare "triangle hum", "head roll hum", "silent scream/scream" and "silent shout with text/shout with text."

Movement Professor is trying to strengthen our obliques, but I feel everything in my abs instead. She checked my form on the exercises and says that my obliques ARE engaging. Her hypothesis is that I'm not strong enough to use them entirely yet. I think it might just be that my rectus abdominus is so weak that it is easily pained. All I know is that my stomach looks a lot better than it did when I got here, so I'm going to trust whatever she says.

We played a little bit of "God/Creature" at the end of class (aka "Master/Slave", "Lord/Serf", "Sounder/Mover", or whatever other term we come up with until someone says they find it offensive).

I had a lunchtime rehearsal one-on-one with Acting Professoressa to work on my opening monologue in Andromache. She says I'm making great progress, and that she's excited about the development of it. I still don't feel particularly confident. I hope I grow into it.

One of her most frequent notes lately has been "stop making statements." This is regarding using lines as statements of fact as opposed to using them to get your "need", and to affect the other person. She says this problem is almost always fixed by a change in point-of-view.

Our first rehearsal for The Mystery Plays!!! So exciting!

Head of Program (formerly known as Analysis Professor... who will probably also at some point be called MP Director, knowing me) started out by telling us to write the following phrase on the first page of our scripts: "[Head of Program] believes I can do this." He said that he doesn't give "cookie notes", and that there will be times when things are hard and we will forget that he believes in us, so he wanted us to have that written reminder.

His biggest rules of rehearsal are:
- Once a scene has been staged, get off book as soon as possible.
- After being given a note, do not say, "You told me _______ before." It doesn't matter what he said before, because NOW he's saying THIS. (Or, as Iceman put it, "So, do what you say, not what you said.")
- After being given a note, do not say, "I thought I was doing that." Because clearly, if he wrote it down, you weren't doing it (or you weren't doing it ENOUGH, or weren't doing it the way he wants).
- Take CAREFUL blocking notes. You can request a moment to write notes down if you need to, but do not rely on the Stage Manager.
- Do work on your own time. He will EDIT what we bring in; he does not want to GIVE us what to do.

We did our read-through, which was neat. Our first preview audience will be on October 27th (OMG OMG, we only have a month to do this... And we're in classes... WHOA).

After the read-through, I threw out my hypothesis for what the action of the play might be, in the style that we would have last year in Head of Program's class. My guess? "To alleviate guilt." We'll see if that holds true.


Thursday, September 24

We continued with screaming. Voice Professor says the things I have to pay attention to are:
- relax the back of the neck
- make sure not to let head go back-and-down on the onset
- don't collapse in the sternum

We started yelling/shouting. I have long portions of text that need to be shouted in The Greeks. Voice Professor said that I was doing well with it.

Stretching and contact improv... just another day in Movement class.

Big Show and I are partners from here on out, it sounds like. Today, our work started slow and a little off, because we were trying to make it like the last time we did it. But once we found a new rhythm, it went really well. Unfortunately, Big Show got an injury when he slipped on a mat, so we had to stop. I felt pretty terribly about it at first, actually. It's weird to put so much faith and trust into a partner, to give them all your weight, and then to have them injured. It made me think that maybe I was trusting too much, and maybe I shouldn't take as many risks in the future. Big Show assured me that it wasn't my fault, but it made me second guess myself.

At the end of last school year, the biggest note I had in assessments was just that I needed more confidence. The way things have been going lately has not made confidence an easy thing for me to work on.

My favorite Acting Professoressa note of the day:
When doing monologues (especially for auditions), try to find non-verbal actions between sentences that are still in character. For some reason, people really respond to them.

We worked on Helen today. The trickiest part about being a chorus member in that show is really just trying to figure out your point-of-view. We love Helen, at least to some degree, but we hesitate before helping or consoling her. Her being free most likely benefits us in some way, but she's just helpless as we are. We may or may not believe her story about how she got to Egypt. I don't think I really understand yet. Acting Professoressa said today that different chorus members can have different points of view on Helen, which is good. I just have to figure out one for myself that justifies all the actions I take and reactions I have during the play.


Wednesday, September 23

We worked on screaming. I have a "uvular trill" still. Voice Professor says that it's actually a good thing, and it's something that's not easily taught, so it's nice to have it naturally. I also know innately how to turn it on and off (kind of like vibrato in singing), so that's cool.

If people are having trouble, we use our hands to help them. So sometimes one person might put their hand on someone's neck while screaming to remind their body to release neck tension and not fall back-and-down. Or sometimes a person might hold someone's lower back and shoulder to keep them from collapsing into themselves during a scream.

We started screaming on the word "Zeus" (which we pronounce with a liquid u, like "zyoos") because D-Train has been screaming it in The Greeks. I think it helps to scream on a word, because it gives you a built-in intention.

We did all sorts of ballet stretches. I'm really stretched out in the muscles we're stretching (too stretched out), so I don't feel most of them in the correct way. Oh well.

More contact improv with our poems. Iceman and Thrill had a particularly compelling partnership. I don't recall ever seeing them work together before. They're of very different sizes and weights, but are both incredibly strong. Thrill was able to lift Iceman in some fascinating ways (and Iceman is usually a lifter, not someone who gets lifted). Really cool stuff.

Electra is going to be great. I'm actually pretty proud of the chorus in that. We're starting to seem like an entity, and like we belong in the scene as opposed to being background observers of it.

One of the best pieces of advice I picked up from listening to other people's notes:
Treat the areopagites (aka the first two rows of audience members who we are treating as though they're a grand jury) as individuals. Notice that different areopagites need to be persuaded in different ways, and you're losing their favor at different times. Choose different tactics with each of them.

After waiting for so long with fingers crossed and eyes to the heavens, our casting for the remainder of our season was finally posted today. My most exciting casting is for Mystery Plays (which had already been announced), so the posting was a little lackluster for me. I have also been given the roles of "Nurse" and "Matron" in Machinal (my entire class is in it, which is cool).


Tuesday, September 22

We began by doing pitch exploration, from the bottoms of our ranges to the tops of our ranges (I think Voice Professor called it a "pitch ladder" at one point, but I might have made that up just now), just trying to notice things about our voices. We paid attention to the gaps in the pitches, when we have jaw tension, when we're straining the larynx, etc. Voice Professor advised that we not let our gaze shift upwards, as it often leads to your head going back and down (as opposed to the goal of "freely forward and up").

Voice Professor warned me that I need to watch out for facial tension, particularly in my upper register.

After that, we did "silent screaming", and then voiced our screaming. When I do this sort of scream, I have a lot of "uvular trill". It's kind of bizarre sounding, but Voice Professor said it's good.

Our homework for the night is to try to figure out what the differences are between "screaming", "hollering", and "singing" vocally. (I didn't ask if we should think about "yelling" or "shouting" or any other possibly confused verbs.)

We did a lot of toning exercises today. Movement Professor kept encouraging us by mentioning all the things we were doing to help our bodies for the future. And now, I'm going to give you a quotation several days ahead of time, because it was so entertaining.

"Up and two, and down and two. And up and two, and down and two. And miniskirts and two, and shorts and two. And briefs and two, and speedo and two. And catsuit and two, and scuba-gear and two."

We worked on contact improv with text again, but this time we used our poetry text instead of Shakespeare monologues. It was so much easier! And extremely fun and exciting. My partner was Big Show, and we ended up finding some great moments of communion.

We spent today working on Andromache. I worked over the weekend on memorizing my lines. I don't have them down perfectly yet, but I think I did okay considering how much I have to remember. Here are some of the notes I got from Acting Professoressa:

- Be careful about playing the quality of the word instead of the intention behind it.
- Hold onto need in the opening monologue.
- Keep focused on the "other" (which, in that monologue, refers to "areopagites" in the audience... which is tricky, since no one is actually there yet) unless experiencing moments of pure discovery.
- When reciting lists, don't know that you're going to say the next thing in the list.
- Stop smiling unnecessarily or accidentally.
- Don't play a point of view; have a point of view and share it.
- Make sure to send and land all lines.
- Don't play emotions; just focus on changing the minds of the areopagites. Get them on your side.
- Every time Hermione comes near the shrine, warn her in a non-verbal way to get away.
- Use the vowel in the word "alive".
- In the sentence, "I'm not going to crawl to you", avoid hitting the word "not". Instead, hit the word "crawl".

I'm meeting with Acting Professoressa for another private rehearsal over my lunch break on Friday to work on my opening monologue more.


Quotations: Volume 32

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

(Big Show and Iceman were getting into a stage combat battle as their characters in a rehearsal for Helen.)
Acting Professoressa: Wait, wait, wait!
(they stop the stage combat)
Iceman: I just couldn't stop!
Acting Professoressa: But I had to stop you. You looked like you didn't care that he was about to poke your eye out.

Acting Professoressa: (to the Chorus and Helen) Enter like someone has just told a joke.
All-The-Way: Did you ever hear the one about the areopagite and the priest?
(Angela laughs hysterically)
Acting Professoressa: That's right, that's right.
Wifey: (in character) What's a 'priest'?

(Iceman tries to cross to Newbie really awkwardly with his arms extended and as though he's in shock to see her)
Acting Professoressa: Um, [Iceman]...
Iceman: I know, I did the Zombie Walk to her.
Acting Professoressa: (comforting) Well, that's okay. A little bit of the Zombie Walk is okay.

(Iceman started crossing the stage while Newbie was talking, pulling focus from her)
"Unfortunately, [Iceman], now you have focus, and now Helen's going to come over there and knock you in the head. Well, no, [Newbie] won't, but you might have that happen to you with some actress in the future if you move on her line."
- Acting Professoressa

(after Iceman accidentally punched All-The-Way during his blocking, he grabbed a pen and started making a note in his script while murmuring to himself)
"Don't punch [All-The-Way]. Write that down."
- Iceman

(Iceman put his head in Newbie's lap in the scene, and then kept it there while she gave a whole speech)
"[Iceman], I don't think you can keep the head in the lap. I know it's a delightful invitation, but..."
- Acting Professoressa

(at the start of class, after trying to kill small bugs that were flying around her tea)
Acting Professoressa: Hello everybody. This could be my last time with you, as the vermin keep getting in my drink no matter what I do.
Newbie: Are they like little gnats?
Acting Professoressa: I don't know, but they're everywhere, and I'm beginning to take it personally.

"Angela, don't make a face when you say that."
- Acting Professoressa, regarding the way I said "She wants to have me killed."

Acting Professoressa: You are what?
Thrill: (in a caveman-like blunt monosyllable) King!
Acting Professoressa: King of what?
Thrill: Sparta!
Acting Professoressa: What is Sparta?
Thrill: It is warrior village!

(while blocking a cross that All-The-Way and Thrill would be making side-by-side during a tense scene where they were teaming up against Angela)
Acting Professoressa: (to All-The-Way) And then he'll cross over with you. What side is he on, darling?
All-The-Way: My side.
Acting Professoressa: I meant left or right.

(after Andromache has said something gutsy to try to stop Menelaus from killing her son, Acting Professoressa instructed Thrill on how to handle his next moment as Menelaus)
"You're the General. Turn around and look at her. And then laugh at her balls. And then turn around and kill the f***er."
- Acting Professoressa

"Do I keep going, or does he go to kill the f***er first?"
- Angela, asking about Andromache's reaction to Menelaus' blocking

"I would rather have Howdy Doody for a father-in-law than you!"
Acting Professoressa, to O.D. on how to deliver the line "I think I would rather have anyone for a father-in-law than a criminal like you."

"'She stimulated travel.' You can throw that at an areopagite for a cheap laugh. I'm not above that."
- Acting Professoressa, to Thrill, who has some pretty ridiculous lines defending Helen, including "She helped Greeks come together. She stimulated travel."

"You're shooting your wad on a verbal there."
- Acting Professoressa, to O.D.

O.D.: "It's a goat..."
Acting Professoressa: (interrupting the line) It's a what?
O.D.: "It's a goat..."
Acting Professoressa: (interrupting the line) It's a goooooooooooooooat! Use that f***ing vowel.

(discussing costumes)
Acting Professoressa: (to Thrill) What are you wearing?
Thrill: Nothing.
Big Show: It is Greek, really.

(when Orestes is fighting the invisible Furies who are tormenting him)
D-Train: Can I just ask... How f***ed up am I?
Acting Professoressa: F***ed up enough that you can't talk.
Big Show: But not so f***ed up that you're eating your own poop?
D-Train: That's what I'm asking! How f***ed up AM I?!

(after we were all exhausted in Movement class because of an evening rehearsal of The Greeks the day before)
Movement Professor: Do you guys have The Greeks again tonight?
D-Train: (whining) We have THREE HOURS of Electra tonight.
Movement Professor: You'll survive. Oedipus made it to two other plays.

"We'll have a tutorial about the urn."
- Acting Professoressa, after a lot of discussion about how people should be handling the urn that supposedly contains Orestes' ashes

Acting Professoressa: (to Two-Shots-Up) Electra must suspect what this guy is going to tell her.
D-Train: I mean, I AM carrying an urn.
Acting Professoressa: That is a BIT of a hint.
D-Train: "I bring news of Orestes."

Acting Professoressa: The stakes are, may I say, higher than anything ever before.
D-Train: It's almost like they're Greek or something.
Acting Professoressa: Yes. They're f***ing Greek.

"No, the fist makes you look like a Nazi."
- Acting Professoressa, when D-Train was trying to determine how Orestes should show Electra that he was wearing their father's ring

"I want you to take the word 'dangerous' and lob it to your partner. If you don't, there's no 'doing'; it's just been aborted. It's just dripping onto the floor. (general sounds of disgust from the class) What? There are other things that can be aborted besides fetuses! (She begins walking away over her imaginary 'aborted' action.) I'd better watch my step..."
- Acting Professoressa

(after getting back notes on our Standard American Dialect exams)
Wifey: (attempting to read Voice Professor's handwriting) What does 'S-H-M-N-G-R' mean? Shminger?
Voice Professor: Stronger.
Killer: I had a similar note. I thought it was 'stranger'.
Voice Professor: (joking) Well, it SHOULD be stranger...
Wifey: I was like, 'well, I wanna take the note...'

Acting Professoressa: I'd like to start with the arrival of Adam.
Angela: That's where God liked to start, too.

"Helen is somebody who uses sex as a hairbrush. When she needs it, it's there."
- Acting Professoressa

"I think you have a shot at making something quite impressive out of these three plays. I'm really quite jazzed about it."
- Acting Professoressa, encouraging us :)


Friday, September 18

We got out scores back from our Standard American Dialect exams using Lady with the Lapdog. I did pretty well. I missed the "z" in "music" (probably too much of an "s"), the "aw" in "morning" (I used a hard Midwest "or" sound), and the "z" in "eyes" (also probably too much of an "s").

We have begun working on the principles of vocal extremes (things like screaming, shouting, and wailing).

We're starting with Screaming, based on Screaming Without Suffering and The Sounds of Violence, both by Bonnie Raphael. Everything below is copied from my handout:

Screaming must involve warm-up and warm-down

1. warm up the physical body, particularly shoulders, neck, jaw, ribcage
2. get the breath and the body connected
3. vocalize in both the speaking part of range and in the screaming part of range

Warm-down (to restore balance to the vocal mechanism)
1. hydration
2. humming in middle of pitch range
3. yawning
4. gentle neck release and shoulder rolls
5. drop forward and hang with easy deep breathing

The elements of the scream:
1. the sound impulse must originate from the center of the body with deep low breathing behind it
2. always maintain optimal breath flow
3. base your scream on a vocalized yawn with lots of space in the back of the mouth
4. proper alignment
5. hard-palate focus (breath comes from the center, the tone is focused on the hard-palate in head voice)
6. INaudible inhalations
7. breath support
8. relaxed jaw
9. relaxed tongue
10. choose clarity over volume (part of this includes keeping consonants clear and keeping vowels from being choked)

First practice the scream without the sound. Once the technique is achieved, the noise element can be added. When you add the sound, remember to keep that free yawning quality. A very minor degree of constriction will occur in the throat, but it should be super-imposed on a free, yawned sound.

Remember (with discretion), it is perfectly okay to mark screams during rehearsals (particularly during things like tech rehearsals where you would be doing it over and over again).

We continued doing contact improv using the Shakespeare monologues. Some people seemed a little frustrated. It's tricky in that you have to find a way to listen both to your partner's words AND their body, and you also have to be finding your own impulses to move and speak while keeping them safe. There's also a tricky line to walk on what is "acting" and what is not (we're not supposed to be acting in this exercise). We need more work with it, but I think it's going to be good for us.

We need to have our poems memorized by Tuesday.

Iceman gave a "Great Actors Series" presentation on David Garrick. He introduced something that he called "natural acting" (because every time someone in history came up with a new idea about acting, it was something that they thought was more natural than what came before it, but isn't something we would call natural today). What Garrick did was took observations of people going through experiences and imitate it on stage. He is also notable for having high expectations for both the actors in his company and the audiences coming to his theatre (Drury Lane). He was the first person to require actors to attend all rehearsals, and he had a strict policy on them memorizing their lines and blocking instead of relying on prompters. He made the audiences be attentive and respectful, and was the first to prevent people from coming into a performance after it had started.

We worked on Helen, and it was going really well. It's got some good comedic moments in it.

One of the things that Acting Professoressa really wants us to work on in The Greeks is picking up cues (or as 1st-year Acting Professor would have said, catching faster impulses). She says we should only build in pauses if they are agreed upon by the director, and you must earn the pauses (which is generally done by not abusing them or over-using them). This is especially true in classics. Deep listening is the key. You have to get the impulse to speak BEFORE your partner is done speaking, while still listening to what they have to say. That way, you gain a sense of momentum and become part of the rhythm of the play. This does NOT mean that you should be rushing; you are just so alive in the moment that you are caught up in the need to respond and solve the problem.

Acting Professoressa said that over the weekend, she wants us to really look at our tactics (or "doings", as she calls them) in The Greeks. She wants us to ask the question, "How many ways can I get what I want?"

My biggest goal for Andromache for the weekend is to make her more likable. I'm too forceful right now. I have to find greater ease, and generally make her more empathetic. Acting Professoressa says that she thinks it's all a matter of "point-of-view" work.

The other big goal for the weekend? Getting off-book by Tuesday. Wish me luck. (Wish us all luck, actually.)

Schedule for next week:
Tuesday: Andromache
Wednesday: Electra
Thursday: Helen
Friday: TBA


Thursday, September 17

Due to our special Voice class dedicated to Audition feedback, we had Movement first today. It would've been more nostalgic, if we weren't in such bad moods.

When we got to school today, we all seemed pretty exhausted. It probably had to do with the fact that we had rehearsal for The Greeks until ten last night, and we're totally not used to that.

We took our "falling up/falling down" partner work (which also involves partner balance), and began using it in a similar way to how we generally use "Little Bears". After that, we started putting our Shakespeare stuff to work.

Each person has started memorizing a Shakespeare speech that they enjoy and connect with. While moving with our partners, we started using our text. The texts had nothing to do with each other, but they told a story anyway. I haven't gotten to go yet, but I'm pretty geeked for it.

Yesterday, we had quick meetings with Movement Professor to discuss her notes on our physicality during auditions. The notes she gave me were:
- I'm working with my body well now
- I have "an actor's body" now. Or, at least, I'm a lot closer to having one than I was before.
- I need to keep energy moving through my hands and out through my middle fingers. Right now, my fingers curl into something closer to fists than straight fingers when I'm not paying attention. She advised that I look at dancers, because the difference between ones who have mastered their fingers and the ones that haven't is apparently huge.
- The biggest thing I need to work on is getting stronger. She says this is particularly true of my legs.
- During my audition, she said I was present "in the room". This is a good thing. She says sometimes when people audition it feels like their head is in a different building than their body.
- I need to make a simpler, more human connection with the audience before beginning my pieces.
- I need to work on letting the characters arriving, as opposed to jumping into them (which is a very difficult thing to do when you know that someone is timing you with a stopwatch)
- Physical shifts were a little too slow in my classical piece. Impulses should occur in the body first.
- I didn't lock my knees at all! YAY!
- My head was freely forward and up.
- She loved that my classical piece was ambitious.

Today, in lieu of Voice class, Head of Program and Voice Professor met with us to discuss auditioning and things that we need to improve on individually.

General appearance notes:
- Wear fitted clothing.
- Look good and be comfortable.
- Do not wear things that are too fashionable.
- Do not wear things that are distracting (such as neon colors, ill-fitting clothing, clothing with writing on it, things that are too trendy, or anything that might make someone pay more attention to the outfit than the person wearing it).
- "Wear what makes you feel good without looking like a hoochie-mama."
- "You do not need to go overly conservative [with clothing], but you don't want to be radically liberal."
- Don't dress for the part; dress for yourself.
- Look at your outfit from behind to make sure that it's good from all angles.
- Wear a palette that is semi-neutral. Avoid neon colors and busy pattens.
- Err on the conservative side; they'll pay attention to you, not the clothing.
- For callbacks, wear clothes that you can move in.
- Avoid all writing on clothing
- Don't wear shorts.
- Don't wear jeans.
- Don't wear tons of jewelry.
- At a callback for a period piece, women should probably wear skirts or dresses with capri leggings underneath.

General introduction and behavior notes:
- The most important thing is to communicate an authentic sense of self. Engage your personality fully and completely, and show it off.
- Do not use a dialect.
- Do not be late; it makes you seem completely undependable from the start.
- Engage the people in the room.
- Don't show too much of your prep work. You want to be PREPARED, not PREPARING.
- Don't do anything too weird or out of the box. It's memorable for the wrong reasons. It makes you look like an "artiste", and hard to work with.
- Make the first moment really professional and really connected.
- At the end, say "thank you" and leave carefully (so that they can call you back if they need to for some reason).
- Be careful of MOOD! Do NOT let them know that you are depressed/nervous/disappointed/etc.

General acting notes:
- Don't get locked into a pure profile.
- Don't leave eyes glued to imaginary "other" in the scene.
- Energy must go outward
- Whatever you've been working on with your acting (e.g. drilling clear consonants), you can work on it in the morning before your audition, but then LET IT GO. Otherwise, you end up forcing the thing you're working on too much and losing the truth of the pieces.
- Don't let nerves stop you from being truthful.

General monologue selection notes:
- The goal is to choose material that reflects you and a natural sense of self.
- Be authentically connected with greatest ease and clarity.
- Don't do a piece you've worked on in a show. Or, if you must, don't assume that all your work is done.
- Before the audition, ask yourself some questions about the monologue to keep you connected to it: Why do I like the piece? What is this character saying and doing that I understand? (See if you could talk ABOUT the monologue for 5 minutes, and then put all the information you said back into the piece when performing it.)
- Avoid narratives. They leave you without much of an action.
- Pieces comprised of rhymed couplets are probably not the best idea.
- Avoid pieces that are too physically comedic.
- Avoid anything where the audience might be concerned for your well-being.
- Stop panicking about showing off in pieces. It's more important to pay attention to your authentic self.

My individual notes were:
- My outfit was great.
- In my first piece, I placed my invisible scene partner a little too far over to the side.
- In my contemporary piece, I had great, specific focus and a clear "other" to talk to.
- They said my contemporary piece fit me as a person perhaps best of all the monologues. It's a great piece for me, and they said it let me shine.
- My classical piece is a good piece for me, but not necessarily for auditions. They said it's in too high a state of emotion, and that they were paying more attention to the plot than to me.
- I stood on a chair for my classical piece, and Head of Program advised me against it; he said it made him concerned for my physical well-being.
- My pieces contrasted well.
- I asked if my Classical piece would've been better served if I had ended it earlier, and they said yes. They also said it would help if I could find greater ease in who the character is as a human being, OUTSIDE of the circumstances of the monologue.

I had an Alexander Technique lesson today. It involved a lot of me trying to stand from a chair and sit in the chair properly while keeping in alignment. I had to do something similar in undergrad, and I wasn't particularly good at it back then. I'm improving a lot now. Movement Professor also helped me to stand more aligned. It turns out I'm putting my weight too far back now (it was too far forward when I got to grad school, but I am the Queen of Overcompensation).

We finished blocking Andromache and Electra today. Andromache is SO FREAKING LONG. I swear, I think it's three times the length of the others. I hope it moves at a good clip once we're off book and getting faster impulses.

We had an additional rehearsal of Electra from 7pm-10pm (but we were all getting a little loopy, so Acting Professoressa graciously let us out early... Dude, The Greeks are hard).


Wednesday, September 16

Our Lady with the Lapdog exam was today. Everyone seemed to do pretty well to my ears. I stumbled with my memorization once, but then went back to the beginning of the sentence and was fine. I think my Standard American Dialect was pretty good, but I also saw Voice Professor making notes during it, so who knows?

I knew I forgot something yesterday! We worked with interdependent balancing. One person started in a position that required them to balance (with a leg off the ground or something). Then another person came in and added to the picture in a way so that they were lightly touching the first person, and using them for balance just a little. Eventually, 9 of us were in this configuration. Then, the other two people found someone within the structure whose position they were going to take, and the one person had to carefully get out so the other could get in (in the same pose).

Today, we did the same thing, but instead of a cluster, we were all in a straight line. After that, we worked on it in partners, and then began giving our partners more of our weight than just a light touch. We had to find a pose that required balance from both people, and then find "stillness" within it (which, Movement Professor explained, is never completely still).

We also have been sharing the poetry that we brought in for our assignment. Here's the poem I brought in (I'm only going to use a couple of lines of it):

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

I really love that poem.

During class, we finished blocking Helen. It's getting pretty funny. I have this idea right now that my character (in the chorus, who is a Greek slave and loyal to Helen) is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. It's making it really fun.

From 7pm to 10pm, the class met again to work on Andromache. We brought in a boy from the community to play my son, Molossus. We still have 3 pages left to block, so we're starting with that in class tomorrow before going back to Electra

I had my first voice meeting with Music Director of the year, in order to prepare for our musical theatre workshop in December. Here are the songs I brought in to potentially sing this year:

"If You Hadn't, But You Did" from Two on the Aisle
(NOTE: I would NOT kill him, just break up with him. And obviously, I would not be doing this choreography, awesome though it may be.)

"Taking Chances" by Kara DioGuardi (yes, the American Idol judge) and Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics. (This was originally written for their band, Platinum Weird. It was later covered by Celine Dion, but the original is better)

"I Wanna Get Married" by Nellie McKay (but the version I have was orchestrated for Audra MacDonald) (song starts at 1:10)

"Old Fashioned Love Story" from Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party

All good pieces, I think. Music Director suggested that I not do "Taking Chances", because he said it was too similar to the song I did last year (musically, not subject-wise). And he said that he thought I had better energy with "Old Fashioned Love Story" and "If You Hadn't, But You Did" than I had on "I Wanna Get Married". I'm about 95% sure that I'm going to do "If You Hadn't, But You Did", even though it's going to be a challenge. Not only is it lyrically difficult, but it's musically really complicated (both with rhythm and with note sequences -- although you can't tell much from Kristin Chenoweth's recording because she doesn't sing the melody as printed and she does so much speaking instead of singing). Luckily, I'm a good musician and I have a few months to work on it.

I had a costume fitting today for Mystery Plays!!! It was so exciting. For Amanda Urbane (an agent), I'm wearing these huge black stiletto boots. I tried on a bunch of potential outfits, including a black jumpsuit with a python belt. For Lucy Brem (a lawyer), I'm probably wearing some sort of suit (and most of the ones I tried on had shoulder pads that made me look like a linebacker). Yay costumes!


Tuesday, September 15

Seriously? It's halfway through September? Already? Man, this year is going to be a BULLET TRAIN.

Oh my goodness. I just realized that The Greeks are going to be performed a month from tomorrow. If next month goes as quickly as this month did (and it will, I'm sure), then that's just terrifying.

It's a little weird that I'm even writing about Voice in this post, since Voice class was actually canceled for the day. Our exam is going to be tomorrow. Thank goodness, because I think I have my section a little bit better memorized now than I did before. So I felt like typing up my section of Lady with the Lapdog in case anyone is curious.

Note that this is all one paragraph, and there are TONS of clauses in my sentences. I'm taking breaths at nearly every comma -- and a couple of cheat breaths that aren't on commas -- to make it through.

Another month and, he thought, nothing but a memory would remain of Anna Sergeyevna: he would remember her as through a haze and only occasionally dream of her with a wistful smile, as he did of the others before her. But over a month passed, winter was at its height, and he remembered her as clearly as though he had only parted from her the day before. His memories haunted him more and more persistently. Every time the voices of his children doing their homework reached him in his study in the stillness of the evening, every time he heard a popular song or some music in a restaurant, every time the wind howled in the chimney – it all came back to him: their walks on the pier, early morning with the mist on the mountains, the Theodosia boat, and the kisses. He kept pacing the room for hours remembering it all and smiling and then his memories turned into daydreams and the past mingled in his imagination with what was going to happen. He did not dream of Anna Sergeyevna, she accompanied him everywhere like his shadow and followed him everywhere he went. Closing his eyes, he saw her as clearly as if she were before him, and she seemed to him lovelier, younger, and tenderer than she had been; and he thought that he too was much better than he had been in Yalta. In the evenings she gazed at him from the bookcase, from the fireplace, from the corner – he heard her breathing, the sweet rustle of her dress. In the street he followed women with his eyes looking for anyone who resembled her….

See why it's been tough to memorize? Look at all the times I say words like "thought", "remembered", "memory", "dream", "before"... It's easy to mix up one word with another, or start one sentence and end with another. And there are lots of lists that aren't easy to keep in order.

Two-Shots-Up helped coach me through it, and I think I'm going to be okay tomorrow. I might have a couple of paraphrases, but I don't think it'll be enough to really affect my grade. *crosses fingers*

We skipped jumping rope entirely and went straight into partner stretches. I was paired with Killer (we seem to be working together a lot lately, which is kinda funny, since the whole reason we decided to work together for The Proposal was that we hadn't worked together much).

After that, we got in pairs to work on "falling up and falling down" together. I was with Killer again. :) Both partners would fall to the floor, but one would end up being on bottom and supporting the other (falling down), and the other would fall with an upwards energy and be supported by the other but ready to get up easily (falling up). After experimenting with this for awhile, we then crossed the floor in pairs, continually falling up/down and rising again. I wasn't exactly sure how to do it at first, but it ended up being fun.

I need to remember that most exercises are more fun once I stop worrying if I'm doing them correctly.

I had a one-hour rehearsal with Acting Professoressa over lunch to work on my Andromache opening monologue. It's over 2 pages of me talking, and it's not easy to make it feel alive and active throughout. I think I made a lot of progress, but it needs a lot of work still.

We got about 2/3 of the way through blocking Andromache in class. We have another rehearsal of it tomorrow night, so I anticipate that we'll finish blocking it then.


Monday, September 14


The weekend has been filled with audition whatnot, so I thought I'd share.

Saturday, the 1st-years and 2nd-years did our standard "2 contrasting monologues in 3 minutes" auditions. We did them in the theatre that the Conservatory usually uses. Watching from the audience were:
- Head of Program (aka Analysis Professor)
- Movement Professor
- Voice Professor
- 1st-Year Acting Professor
- 2nd-Year Acting Professoressa
- Artistic Director
- Guest Director (for Machinal)
- Literary Manager (aka Artistic Director's right-hand woman)
- a 3rd-year who introduced you and timed the pieces (mine was 3rd-Year NP, who happens to be my roommate)

My audition wasn't as awesomely brilliant as I had hoped and planned, but I think it was pretty solid. But when you're faced with a group of people like that, no matter how cool, calm, and confident you are before you go onto the stage, it's hard to stay in that mindset once you're on the actual stage. At least, it was for me. I think I was too loud for the space. I think I pushed too much in my second monologue. I don't think my first monologue was intimate enough. I just hope that from my audition, they can see how much I've grown in the last year.

On Sunday, we had a workshop/audition for Guest Director. I'm not really sure which to call it, because it was sort of both. I think it was mostly a workshop, but we were all treating it like an audition.

In the beginning, Guest Director started us out with a lot of warm-up, ensemble-building (or perhaps ensemble-proving) exercises. But I think that most of us were, at least in some part, in the mindset of "I'm auditioning right now and I want to prove myself", which put us all a little off in the ensemble work. This is unfortunate, because we really have come a long way on the journey to becoming more of an ensemble, but I don't think Guest Director got a good representation of that.

In the second part of the workshop, we went into the studio two-at-a-time (or, in one group's case, three) to work on the scenes that we had memorized from The Proposal by Anton Chekhov. Here's the scene that Killer and I cut together:

NATÁSHA: This is all a big joke, isn’t it? We’ve owned that land for going on three hundred years, and all of a sudden you say it doesn’t belong to us. Believe me, I don’t care one bit about that old meadow: it’s only twelve acres, it’s not worth three hundred rubles, even, but that’s not the point. It’s the injustice of it that hurts. And I don’t care what anybody says – injustice is something I just can’t put up with.
LOMÓV: Natalya Stepanovna, I don’t care about that field either; I don’t need that field; I’m talking about the principle of the thing. If you want the field, you can have it. I’ll give it to you.
NATÁSHA: Up till now I’ve always thought of you as a good neighbor, a real friend, and now all of a sudden you start treating us like Gypsies. You’ll give me my own field? Excuse me, but that’s a pretty unneighborly thing to do. In fact, in my opinion, it’s downright insulting!
LOMÓV: So in your opinion I’m some kind of claim jumper, you mean? Look, lady, I have never tried to take anybody else’s land, and I’m not going to let anybody tell me I did, not even you. (he takes a drink of water) Meadowland is mine!
NATÁSHA: You lie! It’s ours!
LOMÓV: It’s mine!
NATÁSHA: You lie! I’ll show you! I’ll send my mowers out there today!
LOMÓV: You’ll what?
NATÁSHA: I said I’ll have my mowers out there today, and they’ll hay that field flat!
LOMÓV: You do, and I’ll break their necks!
NATÁSHA: You wouldn’t dare!
LOMÓV: (clutches his chest and shouts) Meadowland is mine! You understand? Mine!
NATÁSHA: Please don’t shout. You can scream and carry on all you want in your own house, but as long as you’re in mine, try to behave like a gentleman.
LOMÓV: I tell you, if I didn’t have these murmurs, these awful pains, these veins throbbing in my temples, I wouldn’t be talking like this. (Shouts) Meadowland is mine!
LOMÓV: Mine!
LOMÓV: Mine!

I was really proud of the way we cobbled it together from the text, as I thought that it had a good flow to it, and it was an appropriate length (we were told to aim for 1.5 minutes, with a 1 minute min. and 2 minute max.).

The problem? We rehearsed the scene as though it were an etude from 1st-Year Acting class. Which meant that we let it play out however it seemed best to play out in the moment, without any regard to context. It turned out that wasn't what Guest Director wanted at all. He wanted it to be more like we were putting on a full production of The Proposal, and this was just one minute of that production that we were rehearsing. Whoops.

I think it still worked out okay. Killer and I did our best at taking direction and turning the scene into more of the farce that it was intended to be.

After it was over, I realized that it's not the end of the world if my audition wasn't perfect. My whole class will be in Machinal (it's our ensemble show). And I love the play so much that I will truly be thrilled to work on it in any capacity. I just really want to be able to help tell that story. It may have been written in the 1930s (and at least one of my classmates called it "dated"), but it's still incredibly powerful. It shows how mechanical society becomes as we introduce more technology. It shows how you can have a "successful" life by giving in, but it won't necessarily make you happy. It's a great play, and I'm grateful to be in it in any capacity.

Callbacks for The Game of Love and Chance and Blue/Orange should be posted this week and will be held next weekend. Blue/Orange is all men. I'd love to be in Game, so I'm crossing my fingers for those callbacks. We'll see what happens.

We got our casting for The Mystery Plays. The show is written as two plays (each taking up one act) that are meant to be performed together, tied together with a common narrator, and there's one character who appears in both. I will be playing Amanda Urbane (an agent) in the first play and Lucy Brem (an assistant federal defender) in the second. I'm really excited about it. We'll be starting rehearsals a week from Friday.

This week is going to be the first week on the hectic train. It's not THAT bad, in comparison to some of the weeks I had last year and some weeks that I know are coming, but I thought I'd give you a glimpse of what the year looks like once things get rolling:

9:00-10:25 - Voice (update: canceled)
10:35-12:00 - Movement
1:00-2:00 - Private rehearsal of Andromache monologue (just me and Acting Professoressa)
2:00-5:00 - Acting, working on Andromache

9:00-10:25 - Voice (exam day!)
10:35-12:00 - Movement
1:00-2:00 - Costume fitting for Mystery Plays
2:00-5:00 - Acting, probably working on Helen
5:30 -6:00 - Lesson with Music Director to prepare for Musical Theatre workshop
7:00-10:00 - Andromache rehearsal

9:00-10:25 - Voice
10:35 - 12:00 - Movement
12:45 - 1:15 - Movement Tutorial on Alexander Technique
2:00 - 5:00 - Acting, probably working on Electra
7:00 - 10:00 - Electra rehearsal

9:00 - 10:25 - Voice
10:35 - 12:00 Movement
12:00 - 2:00 Lunch with 1st-year SDW, who I am mentor to this year
2:00 - 5:00 Acting, rehearsing The Greeks

See? It's not horrendous, by any means. It'll be significantly crazier once we have rehearsals for season shows in addition to classes But in order to have time to prepare for callbacks (or for rehearsals of Mystery Plays, which will sneak up on us), we have to do really well with time management and keeping our energy levels high.


Quotations: Volume 31

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

(discussing handout of "ask list" words)
"This is a relatively extensive list. I did not put this list together. I couldn't even spell this list."
- Voice Professor

"I don't know what the first word is. 'Abaft'? It sounds like hurting someone."
- Voice Professor, on the "ask list"

(the class was taking turns saying "nurse, star, poor, here, air, mother, your" in the British dialect without final "r" sounds. Thrill sometimes has trouble with dropping the endings of words when he's not supposed to do so.)
Thrill: (perfectly) Nuhse, Stah, Poouh, Heeuh, Aiuh, Mothuh, Youuh
Voice Professor: GOOD!
Thrill: I can take the endings off.

"I don't want you to be TOO safe. That would be boring."
- Movement Professor, during Little Bears

"I love it when [D-Train]'s a tree and [O.D.]'s a koala!"
- Me

"Everyone looks great, except for [D-Train], who's quivering like the Maenad from True Blood."
- Head of Program, commenting on the group photo of the Conservatory we took during orientation, in which D-Train looks a bit blurry

"This is worth your Equity card. If you want to stage yourself, find out where the transitions are and move on the transitions. Then you will be a self-blocker."
- Acting Professoressa

"You have lots of opportunities in your training to be creative. This isn't it. Be precise."
- Voice Professor, on our warm-ups

"Don't worry, I take everything as a compliment. I hang out with [Head of Program]. I HAVE to take everything as a compliment. I'd be devastated if I didn't."
- Voice Professor.

(after suggesting that as Andromache, I should sit further back on a step to give me a more powerful posture)
"It's always good to move your butt back, as they say in the gynecologist's office."
- Acting Professoressa

Acting Professoressa: (realizing that she forgot to introduce Killer's character at the beginning of Electra) Is this the first time we see you?
Killer: Yes.
Acting Professoressa: Well, f*** me.]

"When I came here with my... hoo-hah."
- Acting Professoressa, unable to come up with the word for a prop

"Don't spend your props like there's no tomorrow."
- Acting Professoressa

(coaching All-the-Way on how Hermione should feel about saying "Sparta")
Acting Professoressa: How do you make it more meaningful?
Wifey: Just have a tiny little orgasm.

"I think I just temporarily lost where the floor was."
- Me, during Voice warm-ups.

(after doing our chewing hums in strange positions)
Voice Professor: We should do this for [Head of Program] so he can make fun of us.
Killer: Can we do it for Showing?

"You have to be able to work with any director, no matter what style, and not blame them for not being what you want. There's nothing to be gained from blame."
- Artistic Director

"In order to inhabit this character, you have to see them as a human being."
- Artistic Director

Artistic Director: Let's talk about different kinds of love.
Me: Carnal.
Artistic Director: She really just went for it, didn't she.
Big Show: I was going to say that, too.
O.D.: So was I.
Artistic Director: But she beat the boys to it.
Me: I remembered it from last time.
Artistic Director: I do like a group that puts carnal number one.

"All we are is observers. We observe behavior, we label it, and we try to reproduce it."
- Artistic Director

Iceman: My need is to preserve my wife and get home.
Acting Professoressa: Preserve her? In what? Brine?

(directing Two-Shots-Up)
Acting Professoressa: Speak to your friends here..."
(Two-Shots-Up begins to speak to the areopagites in the first row)
Acting Professoressa: No, the ones on the f***ing stage.

(when it was O.D.'s turn to demonstrate a hum in Voice class, he wasn't ready, he picked up his water, and he started drinking a lot)
"[O.D.], don't make me kill you."
- Voice Professor

(after O.D. had trouble doing an unvoiced trill without dredging up a lot of phlegm)
Voice Professor: Oh, I see the problem. You're trilling with the medial section of your tongue. You need to trill with the tip.
O.D.: And by tip, do you mean blade? What do you mean by 'tip'?
Voice Professor: [O.D.], did you really just ask me that question? What is the tip of your tongue? What could that possibly refer to? There's only one tip.

Voice Professor: I'm not even going to speak to that.
Thrill: But you gotta understand where I'm coming from.
Voice Professor: I will not. I will deal with your stage persona, and nothing else.

(after a lot of tiring stretching with exercise balls)
Movement Professor: (collapsing on her ball, and indicating that we should do the same) Now give the ball a rest.
Newbie: Awww... The ball is tired.
Movement Professor: Yes. The ball is tired.

Acting Professoressa: Do we have any other business to attend to?
Thrill: Well, technically, yes. I'm supposed to talk about some dead guy.
(This was Thrill's way of bringing up that he was scheduled to give a Great Actor Series presentation)

"That's why we have the word 'conservatory', I think, is that we're conserving the knowledge that gets passed down from generation to generation."
- Acting Professoressa

(after All-the-Way and Newbie followed their impulses to stick together as chorus in Electra)
"The Bobbsey Twins thing is not especially helpful. It worked for a time, but then there's a point where you need to separate. I didn't mean to make fun of your choice, I'm just saying."
- Acting Professoressa

(Newbie's chorus character had been sweeping, and was now holding a broom but not using it.)
Acting Professoressa: [Newbie], can you hold the broom on the other side?
Newbie: (flips broom to a different position) This? This looks like I'm gonna climb on it and go play Quidditch.


Friday, September 11

We went through and spoke our sections of Lady with the Lapdog to check in before our Standard American Dialect exam on Tuesday. Voice Professor didn't give me any notes, which I think is a first for me. But I'm not out of the woods by any means; this stuff is HARD to memorize, and I have to be off-book for the exam.

Possible reasons that I'm having so much trouble memorizing it:
- It's a story, not a scene. There are no objectives or tactics to help memorization.
- My section is more about thoughts than images, so I can't picture it easily.
- I'm focusing more on the sounds than the words (in order to make it Standard).
- It has an uneven rhythm.
- The clauses and phrases are REALLY LONG, so it's hard even to memorize half a sentence at a time.

I hope I can memorize it well for Tuesday. I'm going to spend most of the next two days focusing on auditions, I think. Monday will be "Lady with the Lapdog" day. I just have to pray that it's enough.

(Note: I have already been working steadily on trying to memorize it... I'm just having a lot of difficulty, and I don't want to distract myself with it during audition stuff. But I don't want you to think that I'm saving all my work for the last minute. I've spent a lot of time with the piece.)

Today was actually a really good day for me in Movement, and kind of a terrible day for most everybody else. We did completely different stretches than usual, and I found them to be more fun and easier than the usual stuff. But, as usually happens, my body responded differently than my classmates. Most of them seemed miserable and in pain. Go figure.

Also good about Movement today: after a full year of frustration, today I FELT MY PSOAS!!! AND IT WAS AWESOME!!! It turns out, it's in a completely different place than I'd been visualizing. I was so pumped, I can't even tell you.

Thrill started off class with the second presentation in the "Great Actors" series. He spoke about Thomas Betterton, who was the hottest actor in Restoration. He was the original Valentine in Love for Love, and he wrote the first book on how to act.

We moved on to Electra, which is now mostly blocked. Two-Shots-Up, Wifey, D-Train, and Big Show have the biggest roles, and they were all doing AMAZING work today. They were tearing it up, and I was so proud.

I found out that I have my first costume fitting next week. It's so exciting!

The 1st and 2nd year classes will be doing auditions tomorrow afternoon. Say prayers for us!



Thursday, September 10

We've started doing these "forward placement" positions for warm-ups where we do moderately-high-pitched humming, and then "chew" the hum, and then "shake" the hum. One such position is kind of the "cow", and the other I heard someone call the "dying frog".

Our steps for preparing Head Resonance and Forward Placement:

1. Open the Five Floodgates (which we discussed last year)
2. Support
A. Blow through lips with support
- unvoiced
- voiced
B. Blow through tongue with support
- unvoiced
- voiced
C. Trill tongue with support, up and down and swirling around the pitch ladder freely
- unvoiced
- voiced
3. Light High Forward Hum
A. Massage mask of the face, eyebrows, under cheekbones, circles on sinuses, skull
B. Alternate chewing and shaking the hum with support
- hands and knees
- squat
- rolling up and down the spine
C. Head rolls with hum with support
D. Triangle: establish with support, feel it, stretch the triangle off forehead keeping light high forward hum and send it keeping focus and support
4. "Heeeeee" with shimmy up and down pitch ladder letting it fly free

Today, we played with the fun giant rubber balls that are in the classroom, and it was SO MUCH FUN. I was rolling around mine, flipping over it, balancing on it, picking it up, attacking people with it... It was stupendous.

After that, we went on to Little Bears, but now we're starting from a standing position, and we're incorporating the idea that the two people can choose to follow their own impulses instead of shared impulses (so there's a layer of potential conflict added in). Also, if we were observing, we were allowed to stand (which was actually really cool... it gave me a whole new perspective on the work -- literally!).

For next week, we have to get two pieces of text:
1. A short, narrative poem. Preferable one that doesn't rhyme. Should have a beginning, middle, and end to the story. We must connect with it and enjoy reciting it.
2. A short part of a Shakespeare speech that we really like. Memorized.

Artistic Director led us in another workshop regarding "needs" (our first was last year) to help prepare us for The Greeks. He likes to call the workshop "What to Do Until Inspiration Comes". The basic needs we came up with (pay attention, 1st-years who read this blog!):

- Security
- Love
- Self-Worth (includes identity... i.e. what you think of yourself)
- Self-Respect (includes society's opinion... i.e. what others think of you)
- Freedom
- Manhood/Womanhood
- Relieving Guilt

I once again tried to make a case for Manhood/Womanhood being a subcategory of both "Self-Worth" and "Self-Respect" ("power", for example, is a subcategory of both), but Artistic Director (and, indeed, most of my class) wasn't having it.

I brought up idea of a need involving "legacy" (which is, of course, where my character's need in Andromache lies), and we decided that it could go into either Self-Worth or Self-Respect, depending on the character. (For example: Two people tell a charity that they want to make huge donations in their Wills. One wants a posthumous plaque commemorating their generosity; the other wishes for the donation to be anonymous. The first person is more after Self-Respect, and the second is more after Self-Worth.) It seems that most altruistic actions end up in one of those two categories as well.

Artistic Director suggests that in the beginning of work, you can dissect a piece by stating:
[beat action/tactic], in order to [scene need], in order to [play need].

For example:
charm, in order to win her over, in order to hang onto manhood.

Putting a strong verb before the need (like "hang onto", "get", or "prove", instead of "maintain") raises the stakes.

Ways to attempt to "Relieve Guilt" include: justifying, denying, rejecting, transferring.

Artistic Director says that to play a crazy character, a good way to start is to change your need frequently, so you seem all over the map and no one knows how to handle you.

We started blocking Helen. I'm in the chorus, and we're still sort of figuring out how the chorus is going to interact with Helen. On the one hand, we benefit if people believe her side of the story. On the other hand, we've been listening to her complain for 17 years. So far, we're doing some experimenting.

Tomorrow, we're going to move on to Electra and try to do some more basic blocking stuff for that.


Wednesday, September 9

We spent the day on forward placement and head resonance, which has proven tricky for me thus far in my training. I talked to Voice Professor a little after class. I think that I lose all my forward placement when I try to prepare my vocal support and body resonance. Since those things come relatively easily for me, I asked if I could try skipping over those parts of the warm-up for a little bit to see if it helped. She said that at this point in the training, we can begin to start tailoring things to our own needs, so I can go ahead and experiment with it. I hope it will help. I've noticed that I have more forward placement in daily life than I do in class, so it's not impossible... it's just a challenge.

Next week, Voice Professor is going to demonstrate using a Neti Pot for the class. Most people seem to be familiar with the concept, but I've never done it. I'll let you know how that goes.

Our class is STRONG, man. We did really difficult stretching stuff today for a good 45 minutes of class, and that was post jumping rope. We're pretty awesome.

Little Bears again! Today I was paired with O.D., whom I've never worked with before with this stuff. I'm not as strong as most people in my class, so he can't grab onto my body the way he occasionally does with other classmates (koala-style), and he's not as flexible as I am, so we can't just tumble in tandem like I occasionally do with other classmates. It took a little bit of time before we found a common movement language, but we got there.

We started the process of blocking Andromache. The tricky part of this? The first 2+ pages is me alone on a platform delivering an exposition-y monologue to the "areopagites" (a jury of people, who are unwittingly played by the first few rows of audience members). Because the scene is just me, I was alone on stage while Acting Professoressa and my ten classmates sat in the audience of the theatre. A little bit weird for me. After working for about an hour (and only getting through about half the monologue), we took a break, and when we returned we skipped ahead in the script to a place where other characters started entering the stage. Thank goodness. Acting Professoressa said that she and I will meet another time to finish working on the monologue.

Andromache has a really different feel to it than Electra. In Electra, the chorus is a group of Electra's loyal supporters. In Andromache, there are women who are slaves like Andromache (Newbie & Two-Shots-Up), and the others are soldiers. In Electra, people go on offense, but Andromache is mostly about defense (at least, for me it is). I'm pretty stoked about both of them.

We're going to begin blocking Helen tomorrow. Yay!


Tuesday, September 8

We did just one day of basic British RP, so that the fellows auditioning for Blue/Orange would have at least a little bit of information on the dialect before the auditions/callbacks.

We have a whole long packet of information just from today, but here are a few bits of information from it (I'm going to try to explain this without using IPA so that people who don't know it can still sort of follow along):

- The first vowel in "apple" (and other words with that vowel) have basically the same vowel, but it's a more open sound. And for people with midwestern dialects (like my own bad habits), we need to be particularly careful to not go into an "eeyah" sound.
- There is a list of words called that "ask list" (but pronounce the vowel in "ask" as more like the British long vowel...) which all have a vowel shift to something that's kind of like the "ah" in "father", but with the jaw higher than in Standard American, and with the jaw open. Voice Professor gave us a 2-page list of words that this rule applies to (e.g. after, answer, chance, dance, fast, glass, grasp, laugh, past, task, witchcraft, etc.)
- The vowel in "no" (and other words with that vowel) changes from the American "oh-oo" diphthong to more of an "uh-oo". You have to keep it SUBTLE, because over-producing it makes it sound really "stagy". In upper class dialects, it shifts to more of an "eh-uh".
- The vowel in "all" (and other words with that vowel) is similar to the American vowel, but rounder. The lips should be round. Don't let it drift to the "ah" sound.
- The vowel in "not" and "God" (and other words with that vowel) has to be a round sound (which it really should be in Standard American, too, but in many regional American dialects it sounds more like the "ah" in "father"... It needs to be rounder than that). It should be short and quick, and should not drift to the "ah".
- In words like "nurse", "star", "poor", "here", "air", "mother", and "your", no "r"-coloration is used. Drop the "r" sound and just say the final vowel. The exception to this is if the word directly after it starts with a vowel, in which case a "linking r" is used. This basically means that the "r" gets put on the next word. For example, "better off" would sound more like "bettuh roff".
- In "pity" and other words ending in the long "ee" sound, they shift closer to the short "i" sound. If the final long "ee" sound is used, it must be precisely produced without the hard regional American ee quality.
- The vowel in the word "what" needs to be the same as the vowel in "not" and "hot". This is an important shift; using the "uh" vowel sounds, as in the word "hut", is very American. This only applies to this one word.
- There is occasionally an intrusive "r" added to words ending with the "ah" vowel. For example, "Cuba" might be "Cuber", and "idea" might be "idear". Some characters will use this, and some won't.
- A tapped "r" can be used: 1. between two vowels. 2. in the initial position. 3. after a consonant. 4. in the final position when followed by a vowel. ("very", "married", "ridiculous").
- "t" is sharp, precise, and explosive
- prefixes and suffixes shortened in unstressed syllables ("enough" shifts to "ihnuhf")
- words ending in "ary", "ery", "ory", and "ony" suffixes drop the penultimate (second to last) syllable. (So "elocutionary" would become "eh-luhk-YOO-shun-ree").
- words ending in "ile" should be pronounced as "eye-uhl". (e.g. "futile" would be "fyoot-eye-uhl", not "fyoot-uhl")
- liquid "u" is always used following the consonants t, d, n, s, and l. (tune, news, duke, suit, etc.)
- "can't you", "won't you", "don't you" -- very precise with a strong "t" (avoid the "choo" sound)
- "did you", "would you", "could you" -- very precise with a strong "d"
- the vowel sound in the pronouns "me", "he", "she", "you" is shortened
- "again" can be said as "uh-gehn" or as "uh-gain"
- the vowel in the words "hurry", "worry", "courage", "Durham", "burrow", "furrow", "borough", and "burro" shifts to "uh"
- "wh" is pronounced as a voiced sound in all spellings, so "which" and "witch" should sound exactly the same, with both "w"s voiced as in the word "we". (Which is pretty normal in General American, but not correct in Standard American)

Melody: Pitch shifts internally within words. Operative words slow down and use internal pitch shift within these words for emphasis.

Rhythm: clipped quality; Precision of consonants is critical; non-operative words eliminate from stress. G.L. Plescia explains it as a "rattle, rattle, bing" rhythm. (e.g. "I'm so sorry I was late; there was a traffic jam." The words "I'm", "so", "I", "was", "there", "was", and "a" are rattled off quickly. The words "sorry", "late", and "traffic jam" are "bing" words, meaning that they take more time)

Resonance Let the sounds ping off the front teeth; a distinct shift of vocal placement forward to the front of the mouth at the lips and teeth (vs. Standard American dialect, with resonance/focus at the center of the mouth). Also, there is lots of space inside the mouth, particularly in the production of vowels, thus creating rounder, more open vowel sounds.

Anyway. We all brought in monologues to work on with the RP Dialect. We each tried to do the first two sentences of our monologues using the dialect.

The hardest thing for me, by far, is keeping my forward placement (I have the same problem in Standard American, but it's a bigger deal in RP). For some reason, it's really difficult for me to stay forward without falling back. It's definitely a bigger challenge for me than any of my classmates. I don't know why. I have a really difficult time hearing when I'm doing it wrong vs. right. I have a feeling that's going to be my biggest voice struggle this semester.

Two-Shots-Up made us a new mix CD for jumping rope and stretches, and it's awesome. It has Spice Girls. And "Hey Ya". I'll leave it at that. Thanks Two-Shots-Up!

I re-injured one of my hip flexors this past weekend (and I have no idea HOW... but it required an emergency drug store trip for some tiger balm), so stretches were especially difficult for me today. Some days, I think that stretches and my body just were not made for each other. But then we'll do other things (like crossing the mats by doing tripods) that don't bother me at all and seem to cause everyone else pain. So maybe my body thinks every day is "opposite day".

We did Little Bears. I was partnered with Killer, and it was fun. It felt like there was a lot of bounding going on with us, which was fun.

It's interesting to see how different combinations of partners produce different results. When D-Train was paired with All-the-Way, it was very fluid, with a lot of interesting lay-back lifts. But when D-Train was paired with O.D., it was completely different. Sometimes it looked like D-Train was a tree and O.D. was a koala. Very cool.

We started blocking The Greeks today!!!

We blocked the first several pages of Electra. I'm in the chorus, but even being in the chorus feels pretty demanding. The text requires so much movement to keep it alive. We have to react physically to nearly everything that happens. It's really interesting, and it's not going to be easy.

As a chorus (at least, for this play), we have to develop a silent chorus language in order to be able to communicate non-verbally.

A good note about focus in a scene: we can only move while someone else is talking IF we keep our eyes on the speaker. Otherwise, we steal focus.

Acting Professoressa says that if we want to stage ourselves, then we need to find out where the transitions are and move on the transitions. I'm planning on marking up my script tonight to help myself with that.

Tomorrow, we're going to start blocking Andromache, and then we'll start Helen on Thursday.


Auditions Coming Up

Curious about my thoughts on auditions next week? Go check out my post on Backstage.com's actor blog, Unscripted.

And bookmark this while you're at it.


Quotations: Volume 30

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

"It's hella ambient."
- Two-Shots-Up, after Killer put gels over the bright light in the Voice Studio

"Take out Lady with the Lapto-... Lady with a Laptop? It's a modern adaptation."
- Voice Professor, stumbling over the title of Lady with a Lapdog

Movement Professor: I learned The Worm from the man who invented The Worm, if there's such a thing as the inventor of The Worm.
Iceman: God?

"One of the funniest things I've done in my career was learning to pop-and-lock."
- Movement Professor

(Discussing the next phase of Little Bears exercises)
Movement Professor: Now we're adding in the next level. We're still doing Shelter/Sheltie and fulcrums, but now we're adding play. We're adding the idea that we're little bear cubs playing.
Me: So, we're adding in awkward?

(During All-the-Way's presentation on Ancient Greek beauty & dress)
"Just think what they would've done if they'd had lycra."
- Acting Professoressa

(As Two-Shots-Up was explaining libations -- wine offerings to gods or deceased relatives -- in her presentation about Ancient Greek food and drink)
"We do the same thing today. We pour out beer on the streets for our dead homies, so, you know."
- Two-Shots-Up

(During Killer's presentation on Ancient Greek values)
Killer: They realized how difficult moderation actually is.
Acting Professoressa: It's a b****. It really is.

(During O.D.'s presentation on Ancient Greek slavery & freedom, he referenced Newbie's poster on sexuality and prostitution)
"When you had that sign up about prostitution, [Newbie], I was looking for the young boys. Not that I'm interested in young boys. Just, I'd done all this research."
- O.D.

(Before Big Show's presentation on Ancient Greek religion)
Acting Professoressa: [Big Show] is next with a huge topic.
Big Show: Huge is an understatement.
Acting Professoressa: I'm not usually known for my understatement. I'm happy to hear that.

(discussing whether to use a liquid "u" in the word "stupid")
"If you say "styoopid" in everyday life, people will hurt you, but in this text..."
- Voice Professor

(during Little Bears, Movement Professor had asked All-the-Way and O.D. to recite text to make sure they were breathing. All-the-Way recited a line of Shakespeare)
"I don't know the next line of Two Gentlemen of Verona. It might be, 'You're really hot and I'll save you from the tower.'"
- O.D.

"There's nothing you can do to a guy that's lifting a bull."
- Thrill, during part of his cultural anthropology presentation about a side show at the ancient Olympic games

Thrill: There was a goddess named Nike, and that's where Nike got their name. She was a goddess of victory.
Iceman: She just did it.

"Think twice before using sarcasm, even if you think it is embedded in the text."
- Acting Professoressa, on avoiding negative tactics

"That's a question you have to ask yourselves: under what circumstances could I kill someone? And if the answer is never, you can't be an actor."
- Acting Professoressa, on understanding the desperate acts of characters

"There is such a thing as being too good of a partner. Don't give your partner what he needs unless he earns it."
- Acting Professoressa, on Yin-Yangs

"Your mission, should you choose to accept it, [O.D.], is to banish certain kinds of doings from your repetoire in favor of others. The goal is to have an endless supply of tactics. Everyone will get this note at some point."
- Acting Professoressa

"You need thrust. You know what I mean? An airplane does this really mysterious thing. Well, it's mysterious to me. How does it stay up in the air? It needs thrust. You need thrust, too."
- Acting Professoressa

"[Wifey]'s angry today. She slapped the book twice."
- Voice Professor

(Discussing Electra)
O.D.: I think the problem is that she feels her mother is a murderer?
Acting Professoressa: That is a problem.
O.D.: To put it concisely...
Acting Professoressa: I hate it when that happens.

"That sounds like the title of a show from the fifties: 'This Is Your Need'."
- Acting Professoressa

(Acting Professoressa once asked a man with several sons if the youngest one could play Molossus in The Greeks. During the boy's first day of rehearsal, he was terrified that the actors were going to kill him and started crying.)
"I had to turn him in and said, 'Give me the next biggest one.'"
- Acting Professoressa

Voice Professor: She was so Standard, it was wonderful. I wish I could've recorded it, but I couldn't because of Equity rules. But it was so Standard and so felt. I was moved to tears.
D-Train: Was that because of the Standard?
Voice Professor: In part. (fakes weeping) "Her STS combinations! Her 'oracle'!"

(O.D. explains his poster collage representing Dionysus)
"That's why I chose black for this. And bright colors. And chaos. And that's a picture of Jim Morrison over there."
- O.D.


Friday, September 4

We read aloud our sections from Lady with the Lapdog, and Voice Professor gave us notes. One of the notes I received seemed like one that EVERYONE was getting: use the "aw" vowel in the word "morning". The other note was that I had to take a catch-breath in one of my long sentences to prevent myself from going into glottal fry.

We will be having our Lady with the Lapdog Standard American Dialect exam on September 15th, and we need it memorized by then. We will have our Vocal Extremes exam (on things like screaming) on September 18th. For Tuesday, we need to have a short monologue to work on using the RP British dialect, so that the males in our class have at least a little bit of it before their auditions for Blue/Orange (which will require various British dialects).

We did stretches with the ballet bars today. I was significantly less frustrated than yesterday, which is obviously good.

We did some more Little Bears work. I was partnered with Newbie, and we found some pretty neat stuff. It made me happy.

We had an action-packed class today.

O.D. started off our "Great Actors Series" with his project on Richard Burbage (aka Shakespeare's good friend, the first Hamlet, and the greatest tragedian of his time).

Then we went into our Adopt-A-God projects. I tried to speed through Hera, because if you don't go into details on the myths, there's not too much you really need to know. She was the goddess of women and marriage, and she punished people who slept with her husband or otherwise did her wrong. I made a chart of people who wronged Hera, the crimes they committed, and the revenges she took against them.

After those projects, we read through Helen for the first time. It has a lot of great comedic moments to it. I'm stoked for it. We will be presenting The Greeks on October 16th at 4pm. If you're local, mark your calendar. :)

We ended class by assigning Greek character names to all of our unnamed Chorus & Soldier roles. In Electra, my character will be Daphne. In Helen, my character will be Eulalia. Love it!

And now I'm off, to a greatly anticipated weekend. :)


Thursday, September 3

First of all, I have a very exciting announcement. As of today, I am a regular blogger for Backstage.com!

Backstage.com has a blog called Unscripted, which is written by actors from around the country discussing their experiences in theatre and in life. I will be writing a few times a week, so make sure to check it out! (Don't worry, loyal readers... I fully intend to keep writing on this blog as well. Obviously, I'm insane.) To see just my posts, bookmark this link.

And while I'm at it, I suppose that this is as good a time as any to mention that I now have a website! Man, I'm just taking over the internet, aren't I? Check it out here!

We each had the opportunity to ask our questions about pronunciations of difficult words (like foreign names) and consonant linking and the like for our individual sections of Lady with the Lapdog.

For one of my linking questions, regarding the phrase "his study", the z is going to soften in quality to become the s. In "it all", the t is going to be carried over so that it's like a part of the second word. And in some phrases like "that dog", the "t/d" at the end of the first word doesn't get ploded because of the "t/d" at the start of the second word.

As it turned out, it only took 7 class days into the semester for me to have a complete emotional breakdown in class. I'm not proud of that, but that's life.

We were focusing on stretches today, and they're very difficult for me. Some of them are difficult because I'm so stretched out that I can't feel a stretch at all. Some are difficult because I don't realize when I'm hyper-extending my joints. And some are difficult because a couple of parts of my body AREN'T loose (it's really just my hip flexors and my mid-spine-to-lower-back) and I have sudden, sharp pains. Today, after one such pain, I just started crying. I don't know if it was from the pain or from my frustration.

Movement Professor was very encouraging. She doesn't want me to get discouraged. I'm going to keep working hard. But every once in awhile, I have a tough day. Today just happened to be one of them. The challenge, now, is to dust myself off and move on. Tomorrow is, after all, another day.

For our homework tonight, Movement Professor wants us to look at our binders from last year and find our list of "Daily Dozen" alignment exercises. She says that seeing the order of them again will help us to remember how to do them properly.

Today we did table-work for the first two plays of The Greeks: Electra and Andromache.

Acting Professoressa gave us a few pointers:
- If you're playing an older character, embrace it any way you wish. Age is not as important as the point-of-view shift that comes with age.
- Remind yourself of your "need" before the scene begins. Say your need to yourself in one sentence before you enter the stage.
- Do not paraphrase lines. Pay attention to the text, respect the playwright, and learn the words correctly. Be strict on memorization.
- When the word "O" occurs, treat it as a moment when you don't have any words and don't know what to say. Vocalize something. It doesn't have to sound like the letter "O".
- Don't confuse weakness with softness in a character. Just because they're using a soft tactic, doesn't mean they're a weak character.

It was actually really fun reading Andromache, especially since I felt like I was already in an emotional state from morning classes. I'm really excited about it.

For Electra, the chorus members are supposed to decide who we are. I think we've decided that we've been working for the kingdom in some capacity and have been pretending to be loyal to Clytemnestra, but are actually loyal to Electra. We have to come up with specific roles in the household now for our double-agent chorus members. I was thinking about being a cook or something...? I'll let you know when I figure it out.