Quotations: Volume 42

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)

"This is not a debate session. FYI."
- Voice Professor, when she was giving notes on our RP

"[O.D.], don't get any closer to me!"
- Voice Professor, when it appeared that O.D. was following her

Newbie: I don't know how [Head of Program] does it. His curtain speeches are great, but I would sound so cheesy if I said some of that stuff.
Voice Professor: He can get away with it because of his height.

"I'm not very professor-ly."
- Voice Professor

(Angela came into class wearing a tutu that she had made the night before... because she's awesome. And then in Voice class, she started tremoring in the tutu.)
Wifey: (seeing Angela tremoring in half-plow) Angela, that looks so funny in your tutu.
Angela: I know. Why do you think I chose the half-plow? I was gonna do first position, but this was so much more entertaining.
Newbie: (laughs)
All-The-Way: I just can't look at you.
Voice Professor: This group is definitely talented and unique.

(while the group was suggesting "doing" verbs for sonnets)
Angela: What about "to lather"?
Acting Professoressa: To lather? Like soap?
Angela: Yeah! It works for me.
Acting Professoressa: Angela, you are the strangest person...

(after a tangent about John Wayne)
Acting Professoressa: Okay, that's great, and now let's get back to the sonnets.
Big Show: Yes, sorry.
Acting Professoressa: It's okay. John Wayne was a big fan of the sonnets. I've heard that many times.

(Acting Professoressa had announced that we would take a break after finishing the current task. When it took longer than expected, she encouraged us to pick up the pace.)
Acting Professoressa: Come on, let's go. I need a cigarette.
Big Show: Me too.
D-Train: Me too.
Acting Professoressa: I'm such a role model.

"I think 'spanking' is fabulous."
- Acting Professoressa, on using "to spank" as a "sensual doing"

"If you wanna blast off, that's something you do in private."
- Acting Professoressa, after someone suggested "to blast off" as a non-literal "doing"

"To shank her?"
- Thrill, suggesting a verb as a "doing" for Newbie's sonnet

"Blast her! Blast her! Positive energy! Blast her!"
- Acting Professoressa, instructing Newbie on how to use a doing in her sonnet

(before a sonnet that Newbie was delivering to Wifey, who was playing Newbie's dying grandmother)
Acting Professoressa: Quiet, everybody!
(Killer coughs)
All-the-Way: [Killer]!
Acting Professoressa: [Killer], I said to be quiet.
Wifey: That's alright. Coughing and sneezing is welcome. Makes me feel like I'm in a hospital.


Wednesday, November 25

I've been looking forward to today for awhile. Why? Because on the day of the Voice Showing, the 1st-Years and the 2nd-Years warm up together! Tremoring with an entire extra 12 people? SO MUCH FUN. There's so much energy flowing through the room, and it has such a great synergy to it.

It turns out the 1st-Years have actually learned a couple of tremors that we haven't yet. (I'll pretend not to be jealous.) Voice Professor said that she's waiting to teach us the partner tremor and group tremor until we do Machinal next semester. I don't know why we never did the Cross Body tremor... We stretch in that position in Movement Class. Honestly, I'm not sure I'd get much of a tremor in the position, but I'm totally going to try it.

A lot of people came to support us, including our other professors, some sponsors from the community, some of the 3rd-year students, and some relatives. It was lovely. :)

The 1st-Years showed off their stellar tremoring skills. I felt like a proud parent... Even though I'm not related to them or maternal over them in any way... and I have nothing to do with their progress... But I was proud of them.

The 2nd-Years started off by reciting our chunks of "Lady with the Lapdog" using Standard American dialects. It had been so long since we'd done it, that I actually got really invested in the story as I was listening to it. It made me a little emotional, actually. I do enjoy it. I'm glad we revisited it.

Next we did "chewing and shaking the hum" as well as doing our "pitch ladders", in preparation for a short (and loud) demonstration of our screaming/yelling work.

Finally, we showed how we learned how to score Shakespearean text. Each of us had an element to mark on the text (which Wifey had written on the chalkboard), and then explain what the element is and how we use it. I got to explain both Antithesis and Breathing.

Yay for a successful showing!

Newbie continued working on her sonnet (#18), which we started yesterday. Here are some of the "doings" she went through...

Q1: to praise/to nudge/to fluff
Q2: to reassure/to rock/to cradle/to squeeze/to compress/to press
Q3: to inspire/to inflate
C4: to pledge/to bind/to bond/to massage/to blast/to uncork

Then we moved onto Wifey (#34)

Q1: to pink
Q2: to pierce/to lick/to tease
Q3: to block/to freeze/to warn
C4: to kiss goodbye

For next Tuesday, we are to scan our monologues and be ready to do table work on them.


Tuesday, November 24

We decided everthing we're going to do for our Voice Showing tomorrow (which is supposed to be an open class). I have to look at "Lady with the Lapdog" again, since we finished that work in September... It seems like eons ago.

Movement Professor returned, and wanted to see what we learned in our 4 days of tap classes. She spent about 40 minutes choreographing a little tap routine that we may-or-may-not end up doing in our Movement Showing a week from Friday.

After that, we moved onto our Contact Improv trios.

Acting Professoressa says that the next step that we have to take with our monologues is determining "How can this heightened language help me to get what I want?" We have to go for the power of the language, and try to use the opportunities that Shakespeare has given us.

Big Show worked on his sonnet (#97). Here are some of the "doings" (tactics) that he tried.

Q1: embrace/kiss deeply/beg/tug
Q2: charm/tickle
Q3: beg/tug/embrace/kiss deeply/wring/massage/squeeze
C4: clutch

Two-Shots-Up has sonnet #62...

Q1: confess/grab
Q2: seduce/soothe/lick
Q3: expose/jolt
C4: glorify/caress

Killer has sonnet #43, which Acting Professoressa noted is one of her favorites.

Q1: nuzzle
Q2: praise/body worship (btw, how hot of a verb is that?!)
Q3: kindle/awaken/arouse/spank
C4: spark/freeze

And then I went!

After my first read of it, Acting Professoressa gave me the note "Leave your face alone."

Big Show volunteered to play my "other" for my second try.

My original Doings were:

Q1: comfort/caress
Q2: engage/grab
Q3: bait/drag/(tease)
C4: excite/massage

The only one we ended up changing was the third quatrain (which seems to be one that EVERYONE ends up changing). So now it's...

Q1: comfort/caress
Q2: engage/grab
Q3: tease/tickle
C4: excite/massage

After the second time I read it, Acting Professoressa said it was greatly improved, and that I needed to remember what I did that changed it so greatly. She called it "trusting yourself". I would call it "simplifying"... or maybe "not worrying about whether my audience understands it" (because although the goal is always to get the audience to understand what we're saying, I have a tendency to underestimate them and overplay things in order to make sure that they get it).

Newbie started her sonnet, but we changed her premise, so we're starting with her again tomorrow.


Quotations: Volume 41

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)

(in the sentence "The tumultuous news assumed the duke fought a duel in the nude", O.D. was trying so hard to work on his liquid-u that he put one in the word "fought", which made the whole class burst into laughter at the amazing-ness of his newly created word)
"Everyone take your pronouncing dictionaries; change it."
- Voice Professor

"'Whoreson dog.' I want you to use that expression next time you're dissatisfied with someone."
- Acting Professoressa, quoting Cymbeline

"I think he's having a metaphor meltdown."
- Acting Professoressa, on Cloten in Act II, scene iii of Cymbeline

O.D.: Wales is considered this especially dreary part of England...
Acting Professoressa: I got food poisoning in Wales; I can vouch for that.

Iceman: It's kind of like a simile.
Angela: (laughs) I love that you used a simile to call it a simile.

Wifey: (moment of realization) Ahhh!
Acting Professoressa: (in a baby voice, as people sometimes use to talk to infants and pets) Did you just get it?
Wifey: I did.
Acting Professoressa: (reverts to normal voice) I'm sorry. I don't know why you just turned into my dog. I talk to my dog that way.
Wifey: It's okay. You love your dog.
Acting Professoressa: I do!

"Halfway between the "I" and the "i". That's sort of the [1st-Year Acting Professor] vowel, isn't it? Like 'seewhatimean'?"
- Voice Professor

"You say, '[Voice Professor] says this, but whatever you'd like.' That way it takes the weight off of you and puts it all on me. And you've also said, 'whatever you'd like.'"
- Voice Professor, on what to do if a director at the Conservatory/Rep Theatre asks us to change the way we're saying something in dialect

"They're really useful. See, I'm using one. Auntie [Acting Professoressa] uses one."
- Acting Professoressa, on how using a bookmark as a guide for which line you're reading can be helpful in Shakespearean texts

All-The-Way: My first sensual doing was 'to twist his arm'.
Acting Professoressa: Yeah, that was like an AK-47 in his face.

(on acting sonnets)
Acting Professoressa: You have to über-land that couplet so that they know it's over.
Killer: Put a button on it.
Acting Professoressa: Yes. A button. An Elizabethan button.

"Make some noise. You're having sex. Just make some breathing noises..."
- Acting Professoressa, helping to set the scene for a sonnet

"Try to get your 'Need' met and be a mensch at the same time. That'll make the gods smile on you. Even if you don't get your 'Need' met."
- Acting Professoressa

"He knows all too well the sounds of her in the throes of rapture."
- Acting Professoressa

"I'm willing to watch it. I'm waiting.... I'm unsure on the premise, but I'm willing to watch it."
- Acting Professoressa, after it was proposed that D-Train's sonnet begin with him walking in on lovers


Friday, November 20

We spent the entire class working quietly on our transcriptions of the monologues from The Importance of Being Earnest.

Thanks to Dance Instructor, I think we're pretty solid on our Time Steps now.

At the end of class, he let us do some Swing as a reward for a long week of Tap.

We did an exercise where we each recited our sonnets to a partner while physically doing things to them.
First Quatrain: Push partner
Second Quatrain: Pull partner
Third Quatrain: Push partner to the floor
Couplet: Help partner back up

It was actually really helpful in separating the beats of the sonnet.

We each got up and did our sonnets quickly for the class, and then we started working with some people more in depth.

Acting Professoressa keeps trying to instill in us not to emphasize words in the same way we do in daily life. Words to not emphasize include:
- so
- must
- not
- no
- don't
- me
- I
- mine
- myself

Here are some of the verbs that D-Train tested out for his sonnet (#27, if I remember correctly)...

1st: to incise/to laser/to throttle/to grab/to brace/to mold/to squeeze
2nd: to grab/to laser/to pierce
3rd: to stroke
Couplet: to amputate/to draw a line in the sand

Here are some that All-The-Way tried for sonnet #61...

1st: to accuse/to twist his arm/to tug/to stroke/to flick/to test
2nd: to stroke/to question/to plead/to nail/to laser/to wring
3rd: to shake/to wake up/to discover
Couplet: to shove/to say goodbye/to release


Thursday, November 19

We recited texts after Paul Meier on his CD, trying to get all of the RP sounds.

KEEP IN MIND: Today was Day 3 of our tap workshop. Most people in the class have never done tap before, so the fact that we're doing the things we're doing is really quite impressive.

We did what Dance Instructor says is "what people will do at an audition when asked to do a Times Step." We had already learned singles, doubles, and triples. This one goes:
Stamp; hop shuffle step; flap step
(and then the next stamp comes RIGHT after the step... There's a beat between the stamp and the hop)

We also started what Dance Instructor called "Rhythm Tap". I think he said what we were doing was an "essence" (I might have the word wrong... it started with an E)

He called this combination the "Bus Stop" step, because it's something that you practice while waiting for the bus.
flap heel heel brush heel toe heel

(It's a backwards brush... For some reason, I want to call it something else... Like a pick-up? Or a spank? Are those the same thing? Are they even real terms? It's been a LONG time since I've tapped, and I can't remember anymore.)

I met with Acting Professoressa at lunch. At our reading of Cymbeline, she says I've been pushing too much, and that I need to trust the text more. She was worried that I was vocally trying to play an emotional state. I wanted to meet with her about it to try to correct it as soon as possible. I think I've figured out how to correct it.

We finished reading Cymbeline. It was a wild ride. And a lot of fun.

It actually makes me wish that I had some sort of class or reading group where people just got together and did table reads of plays for fun.

(NOTE: If such a place/group/class exists -- ANYWHERE -- please tell me so that I can get in touch with someone to figure out how it is run... Maybe in the future I can replicate it.)

Favorite line of the day:
"Hang there like fruit, my soul,
Till the tree die."
- Posthumus, while embracing Imogen after they've been reunited


Wednesday, November 18

RP (British dialect) is getting easier as we go. I was reciting old monologues of mine on break attempting to apply the dialect to it, and I thought I was doing pretty well, actually. Of course, I thought I was doing pretty well yesterday when people said I sounded Southern, so I might be way off base... But I think I'm getting the hang of it.

We went through the rest of the "Signature Sounds" sentences from our book, trying to nail down the rules for the dialect that we've been learning...

1. A lot of better writers print a lot of little words.
(Focuses on keeping the "t" sound unvoiced, aspirated, released, and plosive... so basically, keeping it as a light, crisp "t" instead of letting it become muddled or like a "d")

2. The tumultuous news assumed the duke fought a duel in the nude.
(This is for the "liquid u". After the consonants t/d/n/l/s and before the [u] vowel, there is USUALLY a [j] sound -- so it's like a "yuh". A good way to hear the difference between a normal u and a liquid-u is to compare the words "beauty" and "booty".)

3. He laughed as he danced to the bath past his aunt in pajamas.
(This is the "ask list", where the vowel shifts from the first vowel of "apple" to something closer to the first vowel in "father". There should be a lot of space at the back of the mouth than we have, and the jaw isn't fully released. You have to consult a dictionary or an RP speaker in order to know what words have this shift.)

4. Paul's daughter Laura is awfully awkward when she talks and walks.
(This vowel is long, round, and open. Voice Professor calls it "plummy".)

5. The first early bird murdered thirty turning worms.
(In the "stir" lexical set, Brits don't pronounce the "r" unless it's intervocalic, aka between two vowels. I refer to this as being "R-less", although the technical term is "non-rhotic".)

6. An enormous tornado tore up the store this morning.
(The "north" set is R-less, making it sound a lot like the vowel in Example #4. Note that in this sentence, the "r" IS pronounced in the word "tore", as the word after it begins with a vowel. More on that in #14.)

7. A star called Marx stole our hearts with his harp.
(The "start" set is R-less, making it sound kind of like in Example #3)

8. Our brother and sister met a lawyer from Denver.
(The "mother" set is R-less, so everything ends on the vowel.)

9. Oak Road is zoned for mobile homes only.
(In the "goat" set, there's a diphthong that glides from a schwa to a U. If you go too far with this one, it sounds really fake and stage-y. This particular sentence also contains the word "mobile" which rhymes with "isle", whereas in most American accents it would rhyme with "dull". This is true of all "-ile" words.)

10. They stopped a lot of nonsense at a college in Watford.
(This is a short vowel. It's the vowel that we're SUPPOSED to use in "God's honest hotdog", but that many American dialects actually use too bright of a vowel on... So it's hard to explain on a blog. For me, the shift is making it a little rounder, and a lot quicker. This sentence also contains "nonsense", which is a "one-off", meaning that it's just one word that you have to memorize the pronunciation of as it doesn't fall under a rule. The pronunciation is like "NON-suhns", as opposed to my home dialect of "NAHN-sehns".)

11. A crowd was shouting loudly down in the town by the fountain.
(This isn't actually a shift for most Americans. We skip over it in class.)

12. Courage is needed for curry in the borough of Durham.
(Instead of r-coloring on the vowels, the "r" becomes a consonant, separate from the vowel. The easiest way for me to think about this is that these words are separated into syllables differently than in General American. Instead of "KUR-idge", it's "KUH-ridge". "KUR-ee" becomes "KUH-ree", "BUR-oh" becomes "BUH-ruh", and "DUR-um" becomes "DUH-rum".)

13. In Paris, Harry shot a sparrow from his carriage with an arrow.
(This vowel is more like "apple" than "air", and it has the same sort of separation of syllables as in Example #12. "PAIR-ihs" becomes "PAH-rihs", "HAIR-ee" becomes "HAH-ree", "SPAIR-oh" becomes "SPAH-roh", "KAIR-idge" becomes "KAH-ridge", and "AIR-oh" becomes "AH-roh".)

14. The Shah of Persia insists that Maria is to never abandon her uncle.
(This example deals with two different shifts. The first is the "linking r" that I mentioned earlier; "never-abandon" and "her-uncle" both need the "r" to be pronounced because it falls between two vowels, so that the words are still understandable. The second is called an "intrusive r"; when a word that ends with a vowel comes right before a word that begins with a vowel, sometimes people put a random "r" in there where there isn't one. You don't HAVE to do it, and just because a character does it sometimes, doesn't mean that they do it EVERY time. In this example, it can be used at "ShahRof", "PersiaRinsists", and "MariaRis". It's a LIGHT r sound; don't sound like a pirate.)

15. We had a lovely, silly party when Billy turned fifty.
(When an "ee" pops up in the final position, RP speakers use either a, "ih" sound like in "sit", or a softer "ee" than we have so that it's almost blended with the "sit" vowel.)

Here's what we've gotten through so far:
- slap
- flap
- shuffle
- ball-change
- hop
- heel
- single Irish (shu-ffle hop step; shu-ffle hop step)
- double Irish (shu-ffle hop step; shu-ffle ball-change)
- single Times Step (shu-ffle hop step; f-lap step)
- double Times Step (shu-ffle hop; f-lap f-lap step)
- triple Times Step (shu-ffle hop shu-ffle step; f-lap step)

I've actually learned Times Steps a few different times in the past, and it's slightly different every time, which Dance Instructor acknowledged to be the case. But I like his way best.

Dance Instructor said I did a lot better at being grounded and more relaxed today. I'm glad. :) It was fun.

We are now up to the middle of Act IV, Scene ii in Cymbeline.

In every section of the text, Acting Professoressa assigned one person to do a little dramaturgy and be prepared to answer questions about what things mean. She has been calling this person alternately the Maven, the Master, the Scholar, etc. I am the Maven for Act IV, Scene i-ii. In the Folger edition of the text, Act IV, Scene ii spans FORTY PAGES. It's like, the longest scene ever. In some ways, it sucks to be Maven for it (I spent a long time trying to make sense of everything I could so that I'd be prepared to answer questions)... but mostly, it's fun. I have a great love of being the person with the answers. :) (Is that obvious about me from this blog? Probably.)


Tuesday, November 17

Voice Professor gave us monologues that she spliced together from The Importance of Being Earnest, which we will be working on with the British RP dialect. The female one is as follows...

Yes, I am quite well aware of the fact. And I often wish that in public, at any rate, you had been more demonstrative. For me you have always had an irresistible fascination. Even before I met you I was far from indifferent to you. (Jack looks at her in amazement) We live, as I hope you know, Mr. Worthing, in an age of ideals. The fact is constantly mentioned in the more expensive monthly magazines, and has reached the provincial pulpits, I am told; and my ideal has always been to love someone of the name of Ernest. There is something in that name that inspires absolute confidence. The moment Algernon first mentioned to me that he had a friend called Ernest, I knew I was destined to love you... Jack?... No, there is very little music in the name Jack, if any at all, indeed. It does not thrill. It produces absolutely no vibrations... I have known several Jacks, and they all, without exception, were more than usually plain. Besides, Jack is a notorious domesticity for John! I pit any woman who is married to a man called John. She would probably never be allowed to know the entrancing pleasure of a single moment's solitude. The only really safe name is Ernest.

Our transcription for that passage (aka the British pronunciation IPA of it) will be due on Friday.

We discussed a couple more one-off pronunciations of words in RP: been & again.

Voice Professor says that using a tapped or flipped medial "r" is our choice, but it doesn't happen with great frequency. The word that most often has a tapped/flipped "r" in RP is "very".

We learned the difference between Full Transcription (all words completely transcribed) and Narrow Transcription (Full Transcription plus all diacritical markings).

At one point, when we were all reading aloud the "Signature Sentences" for RP, apparently, I sounded like I was speaking with a Southern American dialect. Voice Professor says it's because I need to tighten up my vowels.

Dance Instructor is back this week, to teach us a workshop in tap dancing. I very much like tap. I took it for many years in my childhood, and had to break it out in high school for a show. I love its percussive nature. It's kind of like making music and dancing at the same time.

Of course, I haven't done it for about 10 years, so I'm pretty rusty. But it's nice to know the basics already.

Dance Instructor says that the thing I need to work on the most is getting grounded again. Right now, I'm jumping around too much instead of keeping my weight into the floor (which probably has a little to do with the fact that I have high-heeled tap shoes, a little to do with how enthusiastic I am to be tapping, and a little to do with my body having forgotten how to tap).

Acting Professoressa recommended that we try to obtain a copy of the book Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare by Isaac Asimov.

We continued reading Cymbeline out loud. We got through most of Act III, if I remember correctly.

Acting Professoressa seemed to dislike my interpretation of Imogen in Act I, Scene vi. Oh well.

Favorite Cymbeline line of the day...
"I am glad I was up so late, for that's the reason I am up so early."
- Cloten, Act II, Scene iii

The show closed on Sunday. Everything went really well. I already miss the show, as strange as that may sound. It's weird to not be performing right now (I'm typing during the time that would've previously been showtime... I think we would've been around my second scene as Amanda the Agent right now).

I took some pictures of my costumes in the dressing room, but I can't find my camera. They will be posted at a later date.


Quotations: Volume 40

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)

(before O.D. started his sonnet)
"Shake out yours arms, would you? But don't lose your alignment. (to class) He's gonna kill me... 'Professor Slain; Gruesome Murder in Front of Adorable Precious Dog'."
- Acting Professoressa

"[O.D.], why are you putting your back to me constantly? Is it something I've done?"
- Acting Professoressa

"There are people who should be paid to have children, I've always said. And people who should be paid NOT to have children."
- Acting Professoressa, on the "beautiful people" of the world

"Don't be tame in your choices. Why use pastels? This is Shakespeare. I want to see primary colors."
- Acting Professoressa

"Don't fall into the Mother Theresa Syndrome, where what you're doing is for the betterment of humanity. You have to have a personal connection to the 'Need'."
- Acting Professoressa, on not having an altruistic objective for your character

"Well, you are the Dane."
- Acting Professoressa, on why someone named Dane should play Hamlet

Acting Professoressa: So let's say you're going to an audition and they want two conflicting pieces... (realizing she misspoke) Not conflicting. Contrasting.
Iceman: Sometimes it's both.
Killer: I'm playing Romeo AND Juliet!

"You're handsome, you're young, you have a 'Need'!"
- Acting Professoressa, on why Killer should play Romeo

"God bless you for trying to get it all right off the bat, but for now, let's not focus on operatives."
- Voice Professor, on our first day of the British RP dialect

(regarding the RP cheat sheet assignment we have to turn in on Tuesday)
Voice Professor: I must be able to read it.
Killer: (joking) Why?
Voice Professor: I know, I'm stating the obvious. No blood on the paper, and I must be able to read it.
Wifey: Then I'll be sure not to take it to Winn-Dixie.

"That was [Iceman] taking his [O.D.] for a walk."
- Killer, after Iceman and O.D. did contact improv together

"This is a huge thing. This is like Lou Dobbs quit CNN."
- Acting Professoressa


Friday, November 13

Happy Friday the 13th!

So as it turns out, RP (the British dialect we're learning) is going to be a battle for me. I understand all of the rules, as we're learning them, but it's hard to keep them all in your head at once.

Voice Professor made sure to tell us that, although RP requires a lot more pitch-changing than General American, we should not change pitch at random. Pitch only changes on operative words.

Our homework it:
- Practice "Signature Sounds" of RP in sentence context
- Listen to the RP dialects on the IDEA site.
- Make an RP "Cheat Sheet"

We did contact improv. There were a lot of great ones. Thrill & Two-Shots-Up, Iceman & Two-Shots-Up, and Iceman & O.D. were some favorites.

Thrill's girlfriend, Hollywood, came to take pictures of us doing Contact Improv. If she allows me to do so, I'll put some up here.

Newbie gave a Great Actors Series Presentation on Henry Irving and Ellen Terry, who were the "Duo of the Century". He played all of the great male roles in Shakespeare, and she was his leading lady.

We started reading Cymbeline out loud as a class. We're in the middle of Act I, Scene vi right now.

Acting Professoressa took a moment to talk further about the concept of an "Actor's Secret". She said that having something like a tiny ornate key in your purse could do a lot for you as an actor if you endow it properly. That key could have belonged to your deceased mother and might still have her DNA on it. It could unlock a little box that contains the evidence that could ruin someone's life. You can get your subconscious to play a game with you.

She also said that if you have something like a purse as a prop on stage, you shouldn't let it be empty except for the lipstick that your character uses from it. A handbag (usually) contains a person's life.

Another thing we discussed was the point of "sensual doings" (metaphorical action verbs) is to make actions that are not "thought" but "felt".

Acting Professoressa recommended we look up the Barbican and see what's going on in the summer so that we can try to attend things while we're in London. (Especially the Russian company)


Thursday, November 12

Our "cheat sheets" for the RP dialect are due Tuesday.

We started listening to a dialect CD from Paul Meier, and taking notes on the various rules of RP. Some of them are WEIRD. Did you know that the Brits pronounce "lieutenant" as "leftenant"? Totally weird.

Voice Professor says that when you're working on any text that involves a dialect, it's important to use all your resources. Check the Ask List. Check the pronunciation dictionary. Check the dialect book and CDs. Use the IDEA site. Talk to people with the dialect.

We did some bar work, and then moved on to further blocking in our ballet routine. I have some more complicated moves with Thrill than I've done in ballet. It's going to take some time for my body to get used to, but I'm excited.

We spent the entirety of class looking at monologues for people.

All-The-Way's possibilities:
- The Tempest; Miranda; III, i
"Alas, now pray you."
"I do not know one of my sex."
(strange cutting)
- The Two Gentlemen of Verona; Julia; IV, iv; ln 180
"A virtuous gentlewoman, mild and beautiful."
(love it! Great casting for All-the-Way. Lessons embedded in the piece. Discovers, works through, and decides.)

Two-Shots-Up's possibilities:
- Antony and Cleopatra; Cleopatra; I, iii
"Pray you, stand further from me." (created monologue)
(Great monologue! Done a lot. Perhaps not QUITE old enough, but do-able)
- Cymbeline; Imogen; III, iv; ln 74
"Why, I must die."
- The Tempest; Miranda; III, i
- Cymbeline; Imogen; III, iv; line 46
"I false? Thy conscience witness! Jachimo..."
(perfect age to play it)
- All's Well That Ends Well; Helena; III, ii; line 98
"Til I have no wife, I have nothing in France."
(Acting Professoressa LOVES this piece)

Iceman's possibilities:
- Henry IV, Part I; Prince; I, ii; line 195
"I know you all, and will a while uphold..."
- Henry IV, Part I; Hotspur; IV, i; line 111
"No more, no more! Worse than the sun in March..."
- Richard III; King Edward; I, iv; line 103
"Have I a tongue to doom thy brother's death."
(Epic, and not done often)
- King Lear; Edmund; I, ii
"Thou, Nature, art my goddess..."
- Cymbeline; Posthumus; II, v; line 1
"Is there no way for men to be, but women must be half-workers?"

Wifey's possibilities:
- The Winter's Tale; Paulina; III, i; line 173
"What studied torments, tyrant, hast for me?"
- Titus Andronicus; Tamora; II, iii; line 9
"My lovely Aaron, wherefore look'st thou sad?"
- Richard II; Duchess; I, ii
"Finds brotherhood in thee no sharper spur?"

O.D.'s possibilites:
- Othello; Iago; I, iii; Line 383
"Thus do I ever make my fool my purse."
- Othello; Iago; II, iii; line 335
"And what's he then that says I play the villain,"
- Richard III; Richard of Gloucester; I, ii; line 227
"Was ever woman in this humor woo'd?"
- Richard III; Richard of Gloucester; I, ii, line 151
"I would they were, that I might die at once..."
- Henry VI, Part III; Richard; II, i; line 78
"I cannot weep..."
(no 'Need')
- Henry VI, Part III; Son; II, v
"Ill blows the wind that profits nobody."
(Talking to dead body means eyes are too low. Too heightened emotions for auditions)
- The Two Gentlemen of Verona; Proteus; II, iv; line 191
"Even as one heat another heat expels."

Thrill's possibilities:
- Othello; Othello; V, ii
"It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul;"
- Othello; Othello; V, ii, line 259
"Behold, I have a weapon;"
- Titus Andronicus; Aaron; II, i; line 1
"Now climbeth Tamora Olympus' top,..."
- Titus Andronicus; Aaron; II, i line 103
"For shame, be friends, and join for that you jar."
- Titus Andronicus; Aaron; IV, ii; Line 87
"Sooner this sword shall plough thy bowels up."

D-Train's possibilities:
- Hamlet; Hamlet; I, ii; line 129
"O that this too too sallied flesh would melt,"
(done a lot)
- Hamlet; Hamlet; II, ii; line 549
"O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I..."
(overdone and too long... But he could start it at "Am I coward?" and go to the end, and it might be fine.)
- King John; Lewis; V, ii; line 78
"Your Grace shall pardon me, I will not back."
(done a lot)
- Henry V; King Henry; I, ii; line 259
"We are glad the Dolphin is so pleased with us.

And as for me...
I brought in a Goneril, a Lady Percy, a Phebe, 2 Helenas (Midsummer, not All's Well), and 2 Isabellas (recommended by Acting Professoressa). All were shot down except for the one Isabella that I really didn't like. So it looks like I might actually do a cutting of Constance from King John, even though it's an overdone speech. We shall see.

We had a lovely talk-back.


Wednesday, November 11

We started learning how to learn a dialect, based off of our books by Paul Meier.

A few handy links:
- Online IPA Charts
- The IDEA Site; The International Dialects of English Archive (where you can listen to recordings of native speakers of dialects and accents from around the world)
- Vasta: IPA Fonts (where you can download IPA fonts)

Voice Professor started teaching us how to make our own "dialect cheat sheets" with lexical sets. She says that it's important to avoid using words that you have difficulty with in Standard American as your basis for words in other dialects.

We discussed the difference between "dialects" and "accents". If the speech is based on something that is in the English language, then it's a dialect (Australian, Irish, British, Deep South, South Boston, etc.) If the speech is based on something that is a foreign language, then it's an accent (Italian, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Swahili).

We started blocking solo/duet sections of the ballet piece that we're going to do for our end-of-the-semester open class (aka "Showing"). It was a little weird, as both All-The-Way and Newbie were out sick/injured. I'm partnered with Thrill. So far, we're just doing a kicky-leg thing. We'll see what happens.

Acting Professoressa says that we didn't do the best job on writing out "point-of-view" stuff in our sonnet papers. She says that POV should be basic truths, that are in the form of first person dialogue. So my POV on my scene partner should not be "He is the man I'm going to marry." It should be more like, "I love you, but you always let me down when I need you the most." She also said that most people needed to make bolder choices.

She gave us a great list of "sensual (non-literal) verbs" to use as "doings" (aka actions/tactics). Maybe at some point I'll get ambitious and type it up for you (I'm more likely to do it if someone leaves a request in the comments).

We went on to Thrill's sonnet (#12), which he's still working on getting a solid scenario for. He came in with a couple of new ideas:
- He and his wife are the last people in the Panther party. She wants to continue the Party by working hard and advocating for it. He wants it to continue by having children and raising them to be the next generation of Panthers.
- He is convinced that his son will be the next Messiah/messenger from God.

I don't know if he fully fleshed out his idea yet, but I loved how interesting his scenarios were.

Iceman's sonnet is getting a little more solidified now (#145). He needs to prove he's a man to his father. His father heard his fiancé complaining about the upcoming wedding, and now doesn't approve of the wedding, and thinks his son is an idiot.

Good advice from Acting Professoressa:
- You need to answer this question for yourself: After you deliver this monologue, what do you want the other person to do?
- Make sure your need isn't too altruistic; you need to have a personal connection to it (and perhaps personal gain from it) to make it strong.

The second half of class was spent trying to figure out what monologues people should use for our next assignment. Here's a list (and whatever notes I jotted down near them)

D-Train's possibilities:
- Henry VI, Part I; Young Clifford; V, ii
"Shame and confusion!"
(Shank is promising, but beginning high emotion is hard.)
- The Comedy of Errors; Antipholus of Syracuse; III, ii
"Sweet Mistress, what your name is else, I know not..."
(Acting Professoressa thought it would be good for D-Train to have a lover monologue)
- Richard II; King Richard; IV, i
"Ay, no, no ay; for I must nothing be."
(perhaps end at "in an earthy pit")

Big Show's possibilities:
- Julius Caesar; Brutus; II, i
"It must be by his death..."
(active, has a task, beautiful language)
- King Lear; Edgar; II, iii
"I heard myself proclaimed..."
(not as interesting)
- Macbeth; Macbeth; I, viii
"If it were done, when 'tis done..."
(stop at "tears shall drown the wind"?)
- Hamlet; Claudius; III, iii
"I like him not, nor stands it safe with us..."
"O, my offense is rank..."

Killer's possibilities:
- The Two Gentlemen of Verona; Proteus; II, iv
"Even as one heat another heat expels..."
- The Two Gentlemen of Verona; Proteus; II, vi
"To leave my Julia - Shall I be forsworn?"
(pay dirt: he makes a decision)
- Henry IV, Part I; Prince Hal; III, ii
"Do not think so, you shall not find it so,..."
- Henry VIII; Wolsey; III, ii
"Cromwell, I did not think to shed a tear..."
(Killer too young, but it does have a strong 'Need' and POV)
- Romeo and Juliet; Romeo; III, iii
"Tis torture, and not mercy..."

Newbie's possibilies:
- The Taming of the Shrew; Katherine; IV, iii
"The more my wrong, the more his spite appears."
(Short. Katherine doesn't have good things to use as audition pieces. We can do better.)
- King Lear; Goneril; I, iii
"By day and night he wrongs me"
- King Lear; Goneril; I, iv
"Not only, sir, this, your all-licensed fool."
(using a cut that I made, which puts it with more text from later in the scene)


Tuesday, November 10

Today we had our spoken exam, in which we attempted to speak our individual scoring for the Portia monologue we've been working on. I think I did alright. I hope.

We started off by lifting weights. Last year, I did a little bit of lifting when I had an injury that prevented me from jumping rope. At the time, I started with 5 pound hand weights, and then moved up to 8 pounds... But now, I've decided to scale back to 3 pound weights. And even with just the 3 pound ones, it was tough. For a lot of the stuff, we end up holding both weights in one hand anyway. Some people in my class are starting with 10 pounds.

We moved onto ballet after that. Honestly, I can't even remember most of what we did in ballet. Mostly reviewed stuff that we have learned in past weeks. The new things were more about combinations than new steps.

We started off with watching the DVD corresponding to Chapter 5 of Playing Shakespeare, which is all about "set speeches" (aka monologues/soliloquies). Here are some notes I took during today's class (most of which are just reiterations of things we've discussed previously):

- Don't play the mood; play the need/intention
- Make discoveries. Everything is more interesting if you're discovering it in the moment.
- When addressing the audience in a soliloquy, choose one person (or areopagite) at a time to speak to.
- Make sure to hit all antithesis
- Keep "landing" lines
- Have an active inner life, and stay engaged in the scene
- Don't get your motor going by doing something artificial, like panting. It's a trap. and it's irritating to the audience.
- Go for the argument.
- Act on the lines
- Pick up cues
- Avoid being "woolly" (unclear)
- Clarity is our first obligation
- Is the outcome of your need immediate and verifiable?

Set speeches generally can be broken up into three sections:
1. React to what has just happened
2. Explore the ideas that have just come up
3. Arrive at a conclusion (or decided that you can't possibly come to a conclusion)

We turned in our sonnet assignments, in which we were to define all of our given circumstances (including partner, scenario, point of view, and inciting incident) and our tactics (aka "doings") for each of the four sections of the sonnets (three quatrains and a couplet). I think, in retrospect, that mine are all totally wrong...

We had to come up with "literal doings" and "sensual doings". I have sonnet 115. My doings were:

Q1: to comfort/to stroke
Q2: to engage/to grab
Q3: to bait/to tug
C: to excite/to massage

We'll see if any of those stick. Today, we went over Killer and Thrill's sonnets, and a lot of things changed while working with them. So who knows?

I did something really stupid backstage during the show today, and as a result, I was a second late on one of my entrances. It wasn't actually that big of a deal (the stage manager didn't seem to even have noticed), but it was really upsetting to me. I've been doing the show for two weeks, and for the most part things are running smoothly. It's unnerving to think that I could still do something like that. But I guess it's a good lesson about theatre: you always have to be on your A-game.


Quotations: Volume 39

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)

"Never neglect inflection... Words to live by."
- Wifey, after mentioning that she had neglected to mark some of her inflections in her monologue

"Don't say it's awful. It's called learning."
- Movement Professor, in ballet

"Don't try to think about this logically. It doesn't really work that way."
- Movement Professor, in ballet

" Try to keep some sparkles in your eyes. It helps you do ballet, actually."
- Movement Professor, in ballet

"In my experience, the people who do the best at auditioning are those who find a way to enjoy it."
- Acting Professoressa

"Miss [Acting Professoressa], would you try that again, but this time try it as a pregnant... donkey."
- Acting Professoressa, giving a hypothetical example of how one might be given ridiculous direction during an audition

"Everyone in New York has to carry their life with them, but you just can't come in like Mother Courage and Her Children."
- Acting Professoressa, on not bringing in a ton of stuff to an audition

"Before you come in, just say to yourself, 'F*** 'em.' You're there to solve their problems."
- Acting Professoressa, on auditioning

"Do you know how often you're sitting behind a casting desk and you have half an hour left and haven't seen anyone who looks like they could play Bob Cratchitt in a heartbeat? And if you give it to them, they'll love you."
- Acting Professoressa, on auditioning

"The great speeches are great speeches because they're great speeches. You don't have to ignore them because you want something unurual. It's like, why would you choose to take a jalopy instead of a limo?"
- Acting Professoressa, on choosing a Shakespeare monologue

"Assume that people like you. Always, if you can. Not if someone's driving a truck over you... But in general, in life. We never really know what people think of us, so why not just assume that they like us?"
- Acting Professoressa

"If you can imagine being Macbeth, then you can imagine yourself doing an Adagio. And if you can imagine doing an Adagio, then you can do an Adagio."
- Movement Professor

"That's a special kind of double-dipping. A 'double-dripping', let's call it."
- Acting Professoressa, on continuing to work a note you've already taken to a point that you go too far

(when trying to determine whose sonnets we had already heavily delved into)
Acting Professoressa: ...and [Iceman] claims he already went. (raises eyebrow incredulously)
Iceman: Jedi mind trick. This is not the sonnet you're looking for.

(Acting Professoressa began to clarify All-The-Way's scenario for her sonnet)
Acting Professoressa: So your 'Need' is to break up with... what did you say his name was? Horatio?
All-The-Way: Liam.
Acting Professoressa: Right. Liam.

"Always choose to be a mensch."
- Acting Professoressa

"He's torturing me. No, wait, I'm torturing myself. I'm doing it to myself... 'Therefore, buddy, all the more reason we should break up. I'm not into torture.'"
- Acting Professoressa, on All-The-Way's inner-monologue for Sonnet 61

(while discussing Big Show's scenario for Sonnet 97)
Acting Professoressa: I thought that 'Need' worked well. To get her to come home. (to the class) How did you feel?
O.D.: (to Big Show) I'd come. I'd come running.
Big Show: Next time we break up, [O.D.], I'll make sure to read this sonnet to you.

"It's like a rond de jambe crossed with a tilt-a-whirl."
- Angela, describing a bit of choreography in Movement class

(discussing Two-Shots-Up's work on Sonnet 62)
Acting Professoressa: How do we account for the first eight lines of the poem being her talking about how vain she is?
Angela: She prob'ly thinks this sonnet's about her.

"Well that sounds like a f***ing sarcasm-fest. Is that what you were intending?"
- Acting Professoressa, on Angela's original too-harsh premise for Sonnet 115

"It's like she's writing, '[Big Show] and [Killer] disagreed with me.'"
- Big Show, when Acting Professoressa was noting something down in class right after a Big Show and Killer disagreed with her

"God, don't you just want to get on that set with a pair of scissors and cut her hair? And cut John Barton's hair?"
- Acting Professoressa, talking about an actress in the Playing Shakespeare DVDs

"You're going to go off the railroad tracks unless you start with a 'Need'."
- Acting Professoressa


Friday, November 6

We spent class doing a full warm-up, complete with like a week's worth of tremoring. Hoo, boy.

Today, we got to revisit Contact Improv (in preparation for our open class, also called a "showing", at the end of the month). And it was AWESOME.

My first pairing was with Killer. Movement Professor wanted us to work together because we both have a good sense of humor in contact improv. At one point, something happened with my body in a flip-over-turn-around sort of way that my classmates have been referring to as "when Angela turned her body inside-out". It was fun, but I have no idea what happened, and certainly wouldn't attempt to replicate it.

My second was with D-Train. It started off kind of slow, but by the end it was really goofy, and as some of our classmates mentioned, "all about butts" (which I didn't notice while in it, but that's what they perceived from the outside).

The final one I did was a trio (my first ever!) with Two-Shots-Up and All-The-Way. It felt like we were the Graces, or muses or something. Very Botticelli, and surprisingly more sensual than the pairings I had with guys earlier in the class.

Trios in general were neat to watch. D-Train, Iceman, and Thrill had a particularly acrobatic and athletic one. Wifey, Killer, and O.D. did something that Movement Professor compared to demons at the gates of Hell. Cool stuff.

Wifey started us out with a "Great Actor Series" presentation on Charlotte Cushman, who was probably the first American-born female stage star. Her mantra seemed to be "Devotion and Work", which I thought was lovely. Ms. Cushman played a lot of male roles in theatre, including Romeo and Hamlet. And she was a lesbian who traveled with her partners in tow, which our class thought was really interesting, as you don't often hear about lesbians who were (at least somewhat) out of the closet in the 1800s.

We read chapter 10 of Playing Shakespeare in preparation for class, and then watched the corresponding DVD segment, which I think of as "The Battle of the Shylocks" (I think it's actually called "Exploring a Character" or something like that). David Suchet and Patrick Stewart had both played Shylock under the direction of John Barton in different productions. And although they agreed on several things (that Merchant of Venice has anti-semitic characters but is not an anti-semitic play; that Shylock should not be played as a sympathetic character or a hero; that Shylock is an outsider; that Shylock is a bad Jew, whom other Jews would not have approved of), their interpretations were wildly different.

D-Train explained the differences between Shylocks in a way that I found to be true, and related it back to Artistic Director's theory on "needs". He said that Stewart's Shylock was fighting for Self-Respect (status and what others thought of him) and Suchet's Shylock was fighting for Self-Worth (identity and integrity).

And a great piece of advice from John Barton:
"Look for ambiguities, and play them."

We finished talking about my sonnet, which is #115.

Sonnet 115
Those lines that I before have writ do lie,
Even those that said I could not love you dearer:
Yet then my judgment knew no reason why
My most full flame should afterwards burn clearer.
But reckoning Time, whose million'd accidents
Creep in 'twixt vows, and change decrees of kings,
Tan sacred beauty, blunt the sharp'st intents,
Divert strong minds to the course of altering things;
Alas! why, fearing of Time's tyranny,
Might I not then say, 'Now I love you best,'
When I was certain o'er incertainty,
Crowning the present, doubting of the rest?
Love is a babe, then might I not say so,
To give full growth to that which still doth grow.

We were trying to come up with a scenario, and inciting incident, and a need for me to work with when playing it. We went through a lot of possibilities (including trying to convince my lover that I should have an abortion, or that he needed to grow up, or that I wanted to have a baby...), and I felt most secure with a suggestion that Newbie made.

So. I'm speaking to my fiancé. It's the morning of our wedding, and he has cold feet. He tells me he thinks that all the poems I wrote him before mean nothing and he thinks we're going to fall out of love with each other. I speak the sonnet to try to convince him to go through with the wedding because, while the future is uncertain, I believe that our love is going to grow.

It's not a 100% perfect fit, obviously, but it was definitely the most active, positive, and playable thing that we came up with. I think it's going to work well for the assignment. As D-Train said (paraphrasing one of his lines as Orestes from The Greeks), "It made all things clear, and plain, and simple." And I think that's exactly the goal with Shakespeare.

Acting Professoressa asked us to nail down some of the benefits of working on sonnets this way. Some of our ideas:
- defining the specificity of the situation. (because it things aren't specific for the actor, they won't be clear to an audience)
- keeping the stakes high
- learning not to work against the text
- make the language your own
- start with a 'need'

The show has been going well. I'm still learning things about my characters, which is fun. And the unexpected happens, as it always does in live theatre. Like the night when my bluetooth phone flew off my ear while I was playing Amanda-The-Agent. I rolled to it in my office chair, grabbed it off the floor, "checked" to see if it was still working, put it back on, and finished the scene. Good times.

I can't believe that we only have another week of it. It's going to be weird not to have this show any more. I really love it.


Thursday, November 5

We went through with each person reading the entire text of our Portia sonnet, and then getting individual notes, based on the scoring that they'd chosen.

My notes were:
- Don't make the word "even" in "And even now, but now," operative
- Remember to pitch-match downward again after the parenthetical "my lords!" (I have decided to raise my pitch for that parenthetical instead of dropping it, as I think that it gives greater momentum for the end of the speech.

We started getting some choreography today, which is always nice. I do dig choreography.

Movement Professor and I worked on my pirouettes. I can do inside turns just fine, but outside turns get me all off-balance and not turned out with the leg that's in passé.

There are so many things to think about during ballet that it's hard for me to do them all at once. When I was working with Movement Professor one-on-one, there were times when she said that I did things perfectly, but it was only after she reminded me of like 3 things that I'd forgotten about my position.

It's tricky. But at least I know that it's physically possible for me to do it... it's just a matter of getting my mind on the right page so that my body can match it.

Chapter 3 of Playing Shakespeare is Language & Character. It's really so much better when you watch the DVD. And not just because young Roger Rees was hot (although he totally was... and young Ian McKellen... and young Patrick Stewart...) It just makes everything far more understandable.

We went over more sonnets, including mine. At the end of class we were still debating things on mine, so we're going to start with it again tomorrow.

On a side note, I have to submit three in-verse Shakespeare monologues next Wednesday that I might do for class. I'm looking for something comedic (which doesn't often go together with verse)... I have to bring in 3-5 pieces. If you have any suggestions, by all means, send them my way.

No news on this front. Just wanted to remind you that I'm still performing this every night after my classes. Which is why I'm so tired this week, I think. Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday.


Wednesday, November 4

We finished speaking the 3rd and 4th sentences of the Portia monologue individually. My notes were:
- make sure that the word "converted" has a light medial "t" (as opposed to a "d" sound)
- don't let your voice press

Our exam is going to be Tuesday. We are to bring our dialect books on Wednesday.

We did "adagios" for the first time, which are slow sequences involving things like arabesques. I totally loved them. It's like kicking in super-slow-motion. And, well, I love to kick. Arabesques? They're my new favorite thing.

We did some waltz-based stuff, too, where we were crossing the floor in pairs.

After class, Movement Professor came up to me and just said, "Yes." I asked her what she meant. She said that I'm getting it and really improving. And she said my "lines" are looking great. I was so excited!

Man, I love ballet.

Acting Professoressa said that if some emergency arises in the middle of a Shakespeare performance, the actor usually says, "More of this will come anon," before exiting. I had previously heard of actors substituting forgotten lines with, "I am amazed and know not what to say."

We watched the 2nd chapter of the DVD Playing Shakespeare, which we had already read. It was on 'using the text'. I didn't agree with all the scansion choices made by the people in the video (like the suggestion that "Good Queen, my Lord, good Queen, I say good queen," from The Winter's Tale should be TEN STRESSED SYLLABLES in a row. I understudied the role of Paulina last year, and I would NEVER stress every syllable in that line! It would lose all meaning!). But it was interesting...

I think the best lesson that I got out of this chapter was something that I've extrapolated on more than they discussed it, which is the REASON that we work so hard to do all of this work on Shakespeare. We, as actors, have to go through hell analyzing everything, scanning all of it, knowing what every word means and how it connects to every other word... Because if we do it, then the audience won't have to. We do all this work to make it as accessible to them and easy to understand as possible. Everything we're doing, we do it so that the audience can get the story, just as we would want in any play.

If having to do tedious, insane work is going to make it easier to convey a story to the audience and have them understand it? Then I'm all for it. Of course I'll do it.

We went through a few more of people's sonnets, analyzing them and trying to figure out their "other" (who the character is talking to), "need" (aka objective), and "doings" (tactics).


Tuesday, November 3

We've been going through our Portia monologue, one person at a time, one sentence at a time. My biggest note from Sentence 1 last week was to not have a downward inflection on the word "better" (which can be tricky, since it's trochaic and at the end of a clause).

Today, in Sentence 2, my notes were:
- Don't put too much weight on the word "me".
- Don't put too much weight on the word "learn" (especially tricky since, in one instance, I'm expanding the word to two syllables)
- Put more weight on the word "commits" (since, right now at least, I have it marked as operative)
- Make sure to take all marked breaths (especially the last breaths before enjambment when I CAN'T breathe) to avoid rib squeeze

A lot of people seemed to be having difficulty saying the word "dull" correctly (so that the "uh" vowel is really present). Voice Professor said that they're going to have to drill it.

In the last chunk of text, there are several lists in the same sentence. Voice Professor says to release the build of each list when it ends, and certainly before starting the next list, so that the sentence doesn't become ridiculous.

Ballet, ballet.

We learned a new step called "pas de cheval", which means "step of the horse" (but Movement Professor told us it's more the step of a "tiny pony"). It's comprised of other steps we'd already learned (coupé, developpé, and tendu).

Movement Professor helped me a bit before class, and said that my second position tendu turn-out is getting a lot better.

Oh my goodness, I have SO MANY NOTES from this class today. I might fall asleep while typing them all... But I'll try to get as much down as I can before passing out.

We started with Killer's "Great Actors Series" presentation, which was on William Macready and Edwin Forrest, who had a rivalry that led to the Astor Place Macbeth Riot. Acting Professoressa said it was the best presentation she had ever seen on those men. Yay Killer!

One great note I wrote down today, I unfortunately didn't write down the context of... but it's great wording, so I'll share anyway. Be so adept that you can adapt.

Acting Professoressa told us to remember the word "embellishment" or "embroidering" in reference to over-playing things, and to avoid it. Don't feel that you have to demonstrate the language (for example, by illustrating with hand gestures). Just DO things to people.

We are supposed to bring in possibilities for Shakespearean monologues to work on next week, and our discussion about the monologues also went into how to have a successful audition. So here are my lists of notes...

On our monologue assignment:
- Either choose something that you want for your audition repertoire, or choose something that you probably wouldn't be cast as but really want to discover in yourself.
- If you plan to put it in your audition portfolio, make sure that it's actually good casting for you.
- Choose something in verse
- Aim for 60-90 seconds long (it can be longer for this class if you really want it to be)
- It must be active and not narrative
- Don't choose anything that requires an answer from an invisible partner
- Go for the star of the show. It doesn't have to be a famous speech, but it does have to be important.
- Bring in 3-5 pieces

Things that you should have in your "back pocket" audition portfolio:
- A classical dramatic monologue
- A classical comedic monologue
- A classic contemporary dramatic monologue (think O'Neill, Miller, Williams, etc.)
- A modern comedic monologue
(Those are the big four. The rest are also good ideas...)
- one joke (short and sweet)
- one poem
- one "hot right now" monologue (from a play that is brand new, or currently being done on Broadway, etc.)
- one "off the wall" piece
- one British dialect piece
- one other dialect piece
- one monologue from a movie

Advice on Auditioning...
- Come in, announce your pieces, and do your pieces. Structure it like a short 1-Act (or 2-Act, maybe) play
- Even if someone has already announced your name, it doesn't hurt to repeat it
- Walk to one spot where you can introduce your pieces and talk to the director & posse (if they feel like talking). Walk to a new spot before beginning your first piece. Walk to another spot before beginning second piece.
- If you get direction, especially if it's direction you don't fully understand (like, "Do it again, but this time, do it like a pregnant donkey. And more purple."), walk to a new place before starting. It helped them psychologically to see a difference, even if you're not changing much.
- Props should only be things that can fit in your pocket (like a letter)
- Don't ever correct the stage manager (like if they say your name wrong... the people have your résumé and can see what your name is. Don't worry about it.)
- Don't use a dialect piece unless they have asked for one.
- Make sure that you can really plug into your "need"
- In soliloquies, you may use the audience as your scene partner. Just not the director. Try to use the costume designer or an assistant or someone if you must.
- Knowing the focus of your pieces is important. There is inner-directed focus, other-directed focus, and outer-directed focus. Other-directed is usually the one to aim for when choosing audition pieces.
- Don't go nuts adjusting furniture before your scene so that it's perfectly under the light.
- That said, do try to stay in good lighting. But don't go nuts over it.
- Don't pick pieces where you're running around like a maniac, especially if the action doesn't make sense out of the context of the play (like, if the character is being chased or something)
- Don't make the shock value too high. They will be paying more attention to the fact that you're swearing and talking about violence at 9am than they'll be paying to you.
- Don't make elaborate costume changes between pieces
- Don't come in wearing a cleavage-bearing cocktail dress. You don't want them to think of you as an exhibitionist
- Don't come in wearing any sort of joke costume for attention (such as a clown nose)
- Don't put your "other" on a chair or on the floor. Keep your eyes UP.
- Whenever you go to the theatre, take notice of potentially useful monologues for the future, and look them up when you get home.
- If you don't have the sides for an audition, go SUPER EARLY
- Actually, go early anyway. Try to see the space you're auditioning in
- With auditioning, practice makes perfect. Audition a lot.
- Know that you are the potential solution to the director's problems. You are valuable.

Advice about acting as a career
- In general, never go anywhere without a headshot/résumé in your purse/backpack/briefcase. You never know whom you'll meet on a train, at the dentist office, or in the gym.
- Have "monomania" about your career. This is a business. You are the product.
- You will get more work from directors you have worked with than from auditions you go on. Every director that you get to work with is a huge connection that you should foster. Don't be a pest, but write thank you notes.
- Start a file system about auditions. After every audition, write down what you auditioned for, the date, the character description, who you met (casting directors and the like), and what you wore (so that, if you get a callback, you can wear it again, or at least something of a similar style vein).
- Remember that the theatre world is a very small universe full of erudite people.
- You will not get points for memorizing incorrectly. Do not paraphrase.
- Project an image of professionalism.
- Be the kind of actor who is good to have "in the room" and whom directors want to be around
- Don't bad-mouth ANYONE. This guy might be that guy's cousin. You don't know. Also, you want to be thought of as discreet, not as a gossip.
- Find a way to relax before auditioning/rehearsing/performing. Acting Professoressa suggests being hypnotized (as actors, we're probably very suggestible)
- Aim for a state of alert relaxation
- Assume that they people like you.

The show is going well. Week 2, baby! A couple of my scenes were particularly on-target tonight, which felt great. I hope it continues to go well.


Quotations: Volume 38

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)

Voice Professor: Let's not pretend. This test is not going to be Friday.
D-Train: (laughs) Let's not pretend. (laughs)
Voice Professor: Well, we've all been pretending that this test was going to be Friday. I've been pretending and believing it. And it seems I was the only one who didn't know over the weekend.

"If you make a mistake, you have to follow through on it. If you take a step on stage, you can't go, 'Oops! I'm not supposed to be there.' If you do, it's Miss Canterowski's third grade pageant, and I don't want my name on it."
- Head of Program

"You can all do this... Oh my God, I just reminded myself of Tim Gunn. (beat) Actually, yes. Make it work!"
- Head of Program

"You are a cog. A cog without which the play cannot work, but you are nonetheless a cog."
- Head of Program

(Acting Professoressa puts down her mug after taking a drink of her sparkling fruit-flavored water and makes eye contact with D-Train)
Acting Professoressa: There is not gin in here.
D-Train: I just thought it was funny the way you put that mug down.
Acting Professoressa: (picks up mug, takes a swig, and feigns drunkenness) Break your sonnet into beats. (winks obviously at D-Train) Three quatrains... and a couplet.

(in a discussion about how literal actions, or "doings", are different than sensual ones, Acting Professoressa suggests that "to lick" would be a good example of a sensual doing.)
Iceman: So, my doing is to lick you?
Acting Professoressa: I'd like you to metaphorically lick with those very words.
Jceman: Um, okay...
O.D.: (to Iceman) Don't worry, man. I won't tell [your wife].
Acting Professoressa: Would you like me to do it for you?
Iceman: Um, okay...
Acting Professoressa: (using "to lick") What was... What was the question?

"You want the meter to inform the poem, but the meter doesn't run the poem."
- Acting Professoressa

"Smile! If you're going to kill someone, you should enjoy it!"
- Movement Professor, while we were working on a step in ballet that she said should be done with enough force that it could kill someone

Thrill: [Acting Professoressa], you're not going green, are you?
Acting Professoressa: Going green?
Thrill: Saving trees?
Acting Professoressa: Oh. I thought you were referring to my complexion.

(D-Train told All-The-Way that while he was on a break from Acting class, 1st-Year Acting Professor had said that D-Train should burst into the middle of his class and ambush the 1st-years while they were doing an etude)
All-The-Way: Was he serious, or was he joking?
D-Train: I don't know. He's Russian.

Acting Professoressa: Okay, who wants to start?
O.D.: (muffled, as his mouth was full) I'll start!
Acting Professoressa: You've got a mouth full of apple. [All-The-Way] will start.

"There's no personification there. 'Sea' is the same as 'toilet'. It's just a noun."
- Acting Professoressa, when someone asked if a line of Shakespearean text involving "the raging sea" was personification