We are beginning our Director's Notebooks today, and one of the first things we are doing is listing every play we have seen or been to. I have watched many plays in the past, from comedic parodies to school plays to professionals. I have watched a couple of plays by a company called Team Star kid, who make parody plays of things like the Harry Potter series, and an Aladdin spinoff on their YouTube channel. I have also been to several high school productions, from my own school and others. For example, I have seen my school's productions of Secret in the Wings, Rumours, I Hate Hamlet, and Anatomy of Grey. I have seen a production of Around the World in 80 days by a high school company, and A Christmas Story by a professional company in Seattle.
January 8- Week of January 1, 2017
When we came back from break, we revisited our new idea of having everyone on stage at once, in order to create a better dynamic. We also started on our new script, which we worked on outside of class extensively. We had about 3 hours of class time to work on it together, and then the next class we have we are presenting it to the other group for feedback. I would've liked to be more comfortable with the script and overall idea before presenting, but we will be okay, I think. We also made new names and personalities for ourselves, as to make it more concrete, and less awkward. My name is Olivia, and I am the fun, quirky, and hyped-up girl who loves her friends and loves Jesus. We made physical ticks as well, and mine is having my hand on my hip, but not in a sassy way, in a matter-of-fact way. We also completed our set, as you can see below, and I think that that is the most concrete thing about our play as of now.
January 06, 2017- Week of December 11, 2016
This week was about revision and improvement. We ended up needing to completely restructure our play, from having us go on stage one at a time to having us all be on stage for most of the time. We also cut out Annika's role as actor, so that she can focus her attention on lighting and making notes. While we have a lot of work to do, I think that this change is going to really help our process, and make our production a lot more cohesive. My role in the process will also be more extensive, since we will be writing an actual script for this version, and I will need to make edits to my moment in order for it to be more balanced with the other moments.
December 11, 2016- Week of December 5, 2016
At this point in our project, the group just needs to work on polishing everything up, and we have yet to fully incorporate sound and costumes, but we are running it fully tomorrow while being recorded. There are some aspects that we really need to focus in on, such as the seperate phone calls and acknowledging each other on stage. I know that personally, I have to work on acknowledging Annika when i get on stage for the first time, because it's awkward just having her be on the side when I am just talking to Ryley. I know that I will also, eventually, need to memorise my moment and acrostic poem for the final performance, but that can wait for over winter break, when I have time to just run lines over and over again. I think that we have a pretty good group dynamic, but if I had one criticism it would be that we get distracted very easily, and usually it can affect our work process. I feel like we've lost some critical thinking to bouts of laughter, and while I think that this project should be fun, it is more important to stay focused on the project on hand.
December 4, 2016- Week of November 27, 2016
We mostly worked on finalising our acting and scripts this week. We made a set schedule that we are sticking to fairly strictly. Right now we have our scenes fairly solid, with some room for editing for the sake of time and coherence. Our main focus was to work on putting the piece together before we worked on sound, design, etc. We have yet to finalise the costumes, and haven't fully incorporated the sound into the piece yet. I do know that Ryley, who is the sound director, will be teaching Spencer, our director, the music for my moment, which is the opening chords to "Karma Police" by Radiohead. I'm really excited to hear my piece come completely together because this subject is very personal to me and brings me a lot of feelings and memories, which is what the play is aiming for. I can only hope to convey these emotions well to my audience so that they can feel what I am feeling.
November 25, 2016-Week of November 20, 2016
This week was spent doing our individual moments and figuring out how we wanted to stage each moment in relation to each other. We also worked on a final set and our storyline, finalising our actual 'script' for all intents and purposes, and figuring out the order we were going to appear. We still have to work on props and transitioning, but that will come with time. I think that right now our goal is to get comfortable with the play and how it is structured, then figure out all of our props and how we will transition between scenes. I really like the progress we've made so far, because it really shows how well we work together as a group and how productive we've been as a group. My goal as the group writer is to make sure I document all of our ideas and have a concrete record of what we have accomplished so far. I have been writing this all down in my theatre legalpad.
November 17, 2016- Week of November 13, 2016
This week in theatre, my group spent a lot of time creating moments and acting them out, in order to develop them. We also talked about our specific roles within the group, and our characters. Our roles ended up as such; Spencer as the Director, I being the writer, Annika being the lighting director, Audrey being the design director, and Ryley being the sound director. Then we went on to play Tap Out, or Freeze, to make ourselves comfortable with improvising and acting with each other. I think that this exercise really helped us, especially myself, because I have a really hard time letting go and trying new things in front of other people. I think that moving forward, we need to work on a little more structure and focus, rather than letting our brainstorming sessions get too expansive.
November 03, 2016- Week of Oct 30 Reflection
This week in our processes, we focused a lot on developing and talking about moments that we can use in our devised piece, and how that affects us and our overall idea of nostalgia. Today, particularly, we worked on acting out moments that we wrote on and talked to each other about. We grabbed a few prop blocks, and used what little we know about the set design and elements to attempt to make a very rough sketch of our individual ideas. Today we made it through mine and Ben's piece moments, and had a fairly concrete understanding of what kind of feeling and emotion we wanted to give from the "nostalgia world" that we go to when our moments trigger.
October 31, 2016- CPT8- Review and reflection on portfolio
I chose to look at portfolio 8, and the portfolio seemed like a giant blog type resource, with journal entries and reflections upon the overall process. The student talked about the overall process and how he developed as an actor and developer, and how he noticed his teammates improving and developing as well. My overall impression of his reflection was that it was very detailed and well organised, while having visual aspects so we knew what he was describing to us. I thought that the way he made sure to title every section was smart because then there is no worry of misinterpretation or missing any aspects of the assignment; My own process has been going differently, just in the process, so far, and I haven't been taking as many pictures or taking as many notes, so that is something I will strive for in writing my project portfolio.
October 25, 2016- CTP7- Set Design and Brainstorming
Work in progress
Annika working on a lighting diagram
Our set design
Set in progress
Today my group went to our performance space and we tried to come up with a concept for our setting and lighting, We made a pretty solid draft for our set, along with our ideas and storyline. We used our previous brainstorming boards and our objects and songs that we used to come up with themes, which we led to us being able to visualise a sort of story circle as a set.
October 20, 2016-CPT-6
Our process so far has been really productive, and our group dynamic works really well together, even though we can get distracted, we have a pretty good centering exercise. We are making good progress through out our planning progress, and we have a fairly solid plan of what our theme will be and what kind of play it will be. While we haven't done anything to actually form a solid idea for an actual performance, that will be coming soon, maybe in our next couple of steps. My group and I felt that fevising is a process that you can't plan, so you have to just make it up as you go and write down whatever looks and feels good, almost like improvisation.
October 13, 2016- CPT-5
The planning process for our group was actually pretty simple. We ended up taking out a big piece of butcher paper and writing down individual themes from our objects. After we had all written down a few things, we connected all the common themes of all of our ideas, and ended up with the common theme of nostalgia. We made up a couple of moments from pieces we wrote about nostalgia, such as a poem or a real life experience, whatever came to us when we heard the word "nostalgia". So, we've decided that our piece will be centered around nostalgia.
October 11, 2016-CPT-4
My group, after discussing the prescribed agreements, discussed five possible agreements that we would come up with, that we would follow for our group. A lot of our agreements went off of the prescribed list, so we combined a lot of the concepts into one agreement. Our agreements had a lot to do with respect, either with respect to the work or to each other, we agreed to be present, centered, collaborative, together, and open-minded. The only agreement we took from the first list was "We agree that we cannot do it alone. We agree that we need each other.", I think that with these more personalized agreements, our group will be successful in creating a positive and creative work space.
October 11, 2016-CPT-3
Today the group went over the prescribed agreements and agreed with most of them and thought that they could easily be condensed into a few all-encompassing points. The ones that we really agreed with completely were: "We agree that we cannot do it alone. We agree that we need each other.", "We agree that we respect each other as artists and as people. We agree to show that respect in word and action.", "We agree that our intention is to help each other to do the best work possible." I think that we all felt an appreciation for these particular agreements because they all have to do with mutual respect and the idea that we are all equal and all have unique skills. I hope that through the agreements we made, that our group can be successful and that we can have lots of fun in the process.
October 3, 2016- CPT-2
The collaborative theatre project in my class is going to be a group project, consisting of half of my classmates and I, while the other group is the other half. My group consists of 5 of my classmates-Spencer, Annika, Audrey, Ryley, Ben, and myself. We have 3 boys and 3 girls, and all of varying theatre and devising experience. Our main goal in class today was to discuss the ways that we participate in group projects and take lead in group work. Most of us had common factors, like the methods of brainstorming, storyboarding, and improvising. We all agreed that talking through ideas and taking notes on our conversations, while also taking ideas from others and being inspired from that. I think that this group of people will be very successful in working together, since we are all very creative and able to hold conversations about theatre fairly well. We plan on using many forms of brainstorming, with collaborative ideas and individual. We have already used a piece of butcher paper to create a mental map of sorts of themes and ideas we brought in from certain meaningful objects, and then we narrowed them down to 5 categories of themes to choose from.
September 29, 2016- Devising definition
My definition of devised theatre is a piece of work that was formed through teamwork and improvisation. I think that in order to devise a piece, you have to tell yourself the story as you make it, so that way you're surprised by each twist and turn, as your audience would be. I also think that if you have a solid plan, it can take away from the process of creating on the spot, so I think that improvisation is the best way to go for creating a piece on the spot because that's all improv is. My favourite part of devising would have to be the elements of surprise and the way that a group can be brought together through the process.
September 26, 2016- CPT-1 Personal Profile
My personal skills and approaches to devising and to theatre in general have changed immensely since I first started last year in this class. I have adopted many skills in this class that I can use for other areas of my life as well, such as problem solving and being able to adapt to changes in plans or ideas quickly. I have become more flexible in my ideas, and way more open-minded about brainstorming and other peoples processes. I am able to work in groups easily, multitask while doing so, and am more able to take charge into a leadership role of some sort. My processes of how I work are pretty much more refined versions of what I had last year, so talking out ideas and jotting down anything that has potential, looking around a room and letting my creativity just flow into a story, or brainstorming through ideas of others. My past experience in theatre includes devising a piece, performing said piece, and acting off of a script. I have also had experience in improvisation, whether it be just warm-up exercises or performing an improvised piece. My interests include reading, watching TV, computers, video games, animals, and music/concerts.
This summer I got to experience a little bit of Theatre. I went to the Bumbershoot Music Festival, where the Shakespeare Improv Company was performing. The experience was indescribable! The acting was amazing, for the idea and the concept of their performance, and they all worked very well together. What happened was they introduced themselves, then asked for play ideas from the audience, who proceeded to shout any idea they could think of. The one that was chosen, however, was "King Henry in Vietnam", which, at first, the actors were thinking "what are we going to do with this?" but then went with it and created a hilarious play about the mishaps of King Henry and his crew in Vietnam. The play had elements of several Shakespearean plays, but the main theme tended to stick to The Tempest, with the idea of a powerful king being stranded on an island after a shipwreck. There were elements of A Midsummers Night Dream, with one of the characters, the 'Queen' of the cougar woods, was named Titania, and there was a potential marriage between her and the King. They sang and danced with each other, all completely improvised, took on several characters and created them right before our eyes. It was incredible, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
April 21, 2016- Comedy of Errors
Last Wednesday my theatre class watched the Royal Shakespeare Company's performance of Comedy of Errors by Shakespeare. My initial reaction to this play was that it was a set of stories in one play, that kind of connected, and in a more pantomimed and musically portrayed way. However, as the play progressed, I saw that it was indeed a single story with speaking, pantomiming, music, and overall stellar acting. The story was very intriguing to me, though I did wonder about the logic at some parts of it, especially when the introduction said that the twin brothers were separated at the age of 18, but failed to know anything of their relative other lost families. Overall I thought that this play was very funny, well acted, and well portrayed by the actors, design teams, and the director. Slapstick was used to a major capacity by the actors, and while it was very fast-paced and difficult to follow, I enjoyed the energy of the play. The set was very minimalistic, in that their stage was a raised platform with props underneath, and there was no backstage, however all the props and people not on stage were back there, adding to the atmosphere with music. The actors used the entire building and even ran outside at one point as their set, however. I really enjoyed the interactions with the audience, which were children. There were times where the actors would ask them questions or talk with them, or use them as decoys.
April 17, 2016- Reflection on Scene Progress
My theatre class have finished our project on The Rivals and filmed our scenes. I would like to say that I definitely learned the character and had a better understanding of how to portray Mrs. Malaprop by the time we had filmed our scene, however I would say that my first performance was better because I was incredibly nervous and couldn't remember all my lines, and my mannerisms were all sorts of rocky. I feel like if I had another week I could've gotten the lines down and my movements would have been better. I did have a better understanding of the voice I had to do, so I feel like I got that part improved from our first filming, however much work it took. I think that I had the potential to do a lot better than I did, and that it was a matter of time and effort that I didn't realise would be there.
March 1, 2016- Character Introduction: Mrs. Malaprop
For my project in Theatre on The Rivals, I will be playing the role of Mrs. Malaprop while doing a scene from the play. My group, Natalia, David, and myself, are doing the scene where Mrs. Malaprop and Captain Absolute first meet and discuss the marriage between Lydia and himself. To learn more about my character, I will be writing an introduction from her perspective.
Hello there, my name is Mrs. Malaprop. I am an older Englishwoman, and I take much pride in my social standing. I would never allow my dearest niece, Lydia, to marry anyone who wasn't of adequate status. She is a lovely young lady, but she has the queerest ideas! It must be all of those romance novels she is always reading. I do try to educate her in the ways a young woman should be, what with geography, statistics, sociology, and the like, anything that will become a young woman like herself. But enough of her, I say. I do pride myself in my impossible use of the more difficult words in linguistics, which shows my evaporated level of understanding of my surroundings, and my ability to detect any lies or deceit going on in my household. Much like that Beverley, who thinks that he can sneak into my house to see Lydia, oh yes, I would sniff him out in an instance! Ha ha ha! Yes yes, I am marvelous in my scrounging abilities. He won't be coming anywhere near my dear Lydia! I do have one secret that I keep from her... Yes, a sort of secret lover... I keep a correspondence with Sir Lucius O'Trigger, under the alias Delia! I truly am brilliant, aren't I?
February 23, 2016- The Rivals
Over the last couple weeks we read the play "The Rivals", which is a play about a man called Captain Jack Absolute and a girl called Lydia Languish. Absolute made a fake identity, Ensign Beverly, and seduced Lydia, pretending to be a poor man who was to offer nothing but his absolute love to her, Since she was rich, the idea of living in poverty seemed to be an interesting experience for her. However, Absolute's father set him up to be married to Lydia, but he didn't know that Absolute had already been courting her. I enjoyed this play because the story of it is very interesting to me, and almost familiar in history. The way that Lydia sneaks off to see Beverley seems very Romeo and Juliet-esque, and I liked that she didn't take kindly to have been lied to, instead of swooning and falling into her lovers arms. This was an overall amazing story, and I look forward to re-enacting it.
February 5, 2016- Joe and Stage Combat
Last Friday, we had a professional fight choreographer- Joe Bosnik- come in and teach us basic stage combat. We learned all sorts of things, such as how to slap, punch, grab hair, and hit our heads on wall. I had previously taken some stage fighting classes, so I had little trouble with the slapping, and punching, but falling, fainting, and head hitting was something I hadn't experienced yet. My partner was very tall for the first part of the session, so that was a challenge to reach the top of his head or his shoulder, but I managed to "beat him up" all the same. At the end we did a short 'skit' if you will, demonstrating all we had learned. It really put how much I had learned in just an hour and a half into perspective. I really enjoyed the experience, and if the opportunity to take another class arose, I definitely would take it.
February 5, 2016- "Stage Beauty"
In class this week, we watched a film called "Stage Beauty", which is a movie about restoration theatre after Charles II came back from France. The main character, Kynaston, was an actor who portrayed mostly female characters, Desdemona from "Othello" in particular. His dresser, Margaret Hughes, turned out to also be an actor, but secretly, since women acting on stage was outlawed. The story progresses to the King's decision to allow women onto the stage and outlaw men portraying women on stage. This creates tension between Kynaston and Hughes, since she took his place in his theatre company. This is important to theatrical history because this was the beginning of female acting, and the start of more equality in general. I had previous knowledge of men performing the roles of women on stage, whether it be Grecian or Italian or English. However, I did not know that when women were allowed on the stage, the 'female' men were kicked off the stage as women.
December 4, 2015
Containers in devised theatre are a very prominent concept to those devising. My group doesn't have very many containers, but the containers that we do have are that we agreed on not spending money on anything, so we just use the resources presented to us, and we are doing a sort of narrated piece, which limits us on the amount of talking each person does. So while there are a couple of containers that we have agreed to have, our piece is fairly open and there is some freedom to change things as needed without breaking a container.
December 3, 2015
My groups devised piece is coming along gradually, yesterday we managed to get it up on its feet, for the most part. There are still some changes that need to be done, and practice is always key, but the main thing we are focusing on now is finding our characters, the way their body moves, how they speak, their general presence on stage. Some reservations I still have about this process is that it can be incredibly frustrating to have to keep trashing ideas and coming up with other ideas. I have a difficult time with the creative process personally, since I tend to strive for perfection the first time I do something, so having to keep trashing ideas makes me very frustrated. I have enjoyed the time with my group, and acting out moments and figuring out how everything works with our characters.
December 1, 2015
We looked over a presentation today on the Commedia dell'arte, learned the different archetypes of the characters, and the history. I found that learning about the different archetypes was interesting, and being able to give them a proper image in my head with the descriptions from the PowerPoint. I learned that the Zanni is not just a character, but a class of characters- typically the clowns or servants. I also learned that the Vecchi is a type of class of characters as well, which includes the Pantalone, Il Dottore, and Il Capitano. This helped me understand the style a bit more because before I thought that these were all different characters, not classes of characters, so it was difficult for me to classify different characters while doing the devised piece we are working on.
November 4, 2015
We did an exercise that made us think about the way our bodies respond to stressful and comfortable situations. It helped some of us to realise how our bodies respond to these situations. This exercise was interesting to me, because I discovered that my body is almost always tense, clenched, or just all around tight, even when I'm sitting down and reading or playing a game my upper arms or lower legs are tense and moving. The only real difference between me being in a stressful situation and a comfortable situation is the tightness of my chest and the clouding of my head. I found that when I am in a stressful situation, my chest is tight, and I feel I am unable to breathe well, a similar feeling to an anxiety attack. My head feels clouded and unable to make decisions and remember things that I need to remember. But when in a comfortable situation, my chest is loose and clear, and my head is focused and able to think. I knew that actors had to be aware and confident about their bodies, and know how their reactions and limitations to uncomfortable situations. I was surprised about how much I wasn't aware about in my body, and it made me think about how aware actors must be of themselves and their bodies. In order for me to become a better "Theatre person" I need to become more aware of my body and more confident in my abilities and my actions. I am good at doing the things I need to if I need to, and I can be a quick learner, which can be essential to Theatre and performance.