Here is the link to my video process journal for the class on November 25, 2018.
In today’s acting class, we were introduced to a guest teacher named PJ who taught us about physical theatre. We participated in many activities that involved a lot of imagination and improvisation. First, we had a little warm up with shaking out our bodies, and then PJ chose random people to lead the exercise. This is where he begins to test our confidence when being put on the spot.
Next, we did a little energy-passing activity. We stood in a big circle, and people would start passing energy (by clapping) to the person to their left, right, or anyone in the circle. The person who received the energy has to continue passing energy to other people until someone messes up. We then took a break from this, because we would come back to it later.
Then, we moved on to another energy-passing activity where we all stood in a line, and the person at the end of the line created a movement accompanied with a sound, and everyone else in the line had to do the exact same thing one by one, forming a chain reaction. After we were finished, the person at the other end of the line had to do the same and start another chain reaction back down the line. After a few rounds, we would all change positions in the line so there would be two new people at the ends creating the moves. So, in this activity, everyone had to think and act fast to pass on the energy in a smooth manner.
PJ then made this activity a bit more challenging by adding in a new concept. This time, whenever the next person in line passed down the energy, they had to enlarge the movement so that the entire chain reaction would start small and end big. Since there are a lot of us in the class, you couldn’t enlarge the movement too much from the previous person, otherwise the people after you wouldn’t be able to enlarge it much more. You had to use your imagination to increase the intensity of the movement at a reasonable level so that it is noticeable, but also not too exaggerated. Of course, if you are the last person, the movement should’ve been as exaggerated as possible.
Then, we went back to the energy-passing activity we did at the start of the class. This time, instead of only clapping, we had to use our now practiced imaginational skills and create a movement and sound whenever passing to a new person. The person receiving the energy had to first receive it from the giver in a motion that makes sense and then create their own movement (and sound) to give to someone else. This is where it can get challenging to think of original movements on the spot.
Finally, we worked on another group activity where someone would move to the center and make some sort of physical action. Then, each one of us had to join in the scene one by one and “compliment” the previous person’s action. This way, once everyone joins in the scene, we are able to create a big picture. This, again, puts our imaginational and improvisational skills to the test.
Personally, I’m not very good with improvisation and being put on the spot. However, I think a key takeaway from this lesson is that sometimes, no matter how stupid or silly you think you may look, you should feel confident in what you do and just go for it. There are no wrong answers in drama, as long as you have something to present. Let your imagination run wild and take you wherever it goes!
Today in class, we each created our own little dance routine for 16 beats. We then partnered up with someone else and learned each other’s dance, then performed the combined dance. Then, we participated in a mini-devising and collaborative project in which we split into different groups of 3 or 4, and we each received a nursery rhyme. Our group was given Humpty Dumpty, and we had to create an ensemble piece that included many features such as a dance, a kiss, slow motion, unison action, etc.
In creating this scene…
- We first brainstormed our plot and assigned each of us a character
- We tried out multiple different scenes based on our storyline and tried to implement the features somehow
- We kept changing and revising our scenes to make them work better and have flow, especially since we needed to add in a lot of different features
- Once we were satisfied with our piece, we ran it through a couple more times to make sure we knew all our scenes
- Finally, we performed it in front of the class!
The success in our project was that we collaborated with each other to create a piece that made sense (to some extent) and included all the features listed. However, the failure in our project was that we lost control of our character during the middle of one of our scenes because we thought we were doing something really silly, and silly is totally okay. So I think we need to able to control that better and allow ourselves to always stay in character no matter what happens.
This project relates to ensemble because it’s a team effort. Everyone has their own ideas, and sometimes when they come together as a team there are conflicting ideas or some sort of conflict. We had to agree on a certain concept or idea, then brainstorm how the scene would play out, and finally piece it all together by acting and communicating with each other “on stage”. This entire process is a good ensemble activity as it exercises our ability to work well together as a team by using our communication and especially collaboration skills.
- Who am I?
I am a 21-year old college student who is passionate about acting and has been studying it in school for many years. Acting is the center of my life, but my father doesn’t approve of me studying acting. In fact, he just dropped me out of a play that I was supposed to be at in two days! I feel very stressed and lost. I either face my father and tell him what means the most to me, or I let him take control over my life, and I really don’t want that to happen.
- Where am I?
I am at my parents’ house, but fortunately while my parents aren’t at home. I live in a separate house of my own about a 20-minute drive away. I’m talking to my younger brother, who just turned 19, and who’s still living with my parents. I’m telling him about everything that had happened with my father making me quit the play, and I ask my brother how he manages to keep living with our parents despite all of their control over our lives.
- What time is it?
This didn’t happen very long ago. It was the year 2016, the season of winter. This is when we usually have all of our performances before the winter break. I remember clearly that it was December 13, two days before the play on December 15. My conversation with my brother was during the afternoon, when my parents had gone out to work at their low-salary day jobs.
- What do I want?
I want to continue acting in my life. I don’t want my father to plan the rest of my life for me. I want to continue acting. It’s my only wish.
- Why do I want it?
I want to continue acting because acting means a lot to me, it’s basically my only passion and the profession I want to pursue for the rest of my life. There’s just something so enjoyable about acting out an imaginary character and imagining these fantasies. It makes me get away from the real world, and I like that feeling.
- How will I get what I want?
The only way I can get what I want is to talk to my father. To convince him to let me continue acting. But I can never do that. He’ll never agree and just get more upset.
- What must I overcome to get what I want?
I must overcome the challenge of actually convincing my father to let me continue acting, bring me back into the play. It’s my life. He doesn’t just get to dictate it all he wants without asking me what I want beforehand. But convincing him won’t be easy, he’s already made his decision. There’s no way he’ll agree to me.
Today, in our lesson, we worked a lot with our imagination. We laid down on the floor and closed our eyes, and we went through a journey of imagination while different types of sounds were playing to set the scene. We then also imagined we were a watchmaker trying to fix a rather difficult case using our imagined “tools” and “skills” to try and fix the watch.
Firstly, I think my imagination is the strongest when I am given a topic that I’m either familiar with or have had past experiences with that I feel I can relate to the topic. For example, with the journey on the island, I have played a game before where I turn up on the shore of a beach on an unfamiliar island full of unknown creatures and artifacts, and I strongly connected that game to the journey I went on in today’s lesson. But as for the watchmaker exercise, I didn’t have as strong of an imagination towards it because I’m obviously not a watchmaker and I don’t know what kinds of tools watchmakers use or how they actually undergo the process of fixing watches. So, when I am given a topic that I’m unfamiliar with, my imagination can get “stuck in the mud”.
Secondly, I think one of the challenges that I face with using my imagination is that I can’t really physically imagine that something is happening to me. For example, in today’s lesson when we were supposed to imagine that we were being slowly controlled by water around us, I could imagine that scene in my head, but I couldn’t physically imagine it, since I was literally lying on the cold, solid ground. Another challenge, as I mentioned, is when I’m given an unfamiliar topic, and nothing really comes to my mind when I’m trying to imagine a situation or scenario. When I don’t have personal experience with it or background information on it, I tend to draw a blank and struggle with imagining about it.
Finally, I think imagination helps an actor to really imagine what the character that they’re playing is like and how they would react to certain situations. An act or a play is set in an imagined setting and world, so it’s important for an actor to imagine his or her surroundings and how his or her character would behave based on their personality and traits. I think that not only will this make the audience really believe and imagine this world for themselves, but most importantly it also helps the actor him/herself to believe in their character and the imagined world.
Konstantin Stanislavski – The Godfather of Naturalism
The System (The Stanislavski System of Actor Training)
- Technical control of body and voice
- Concentration and Focus
- A state of ‘relaxation’ on stage
- The creative state of mind
Three common problems of most actors
- The fear of being watched by an audience
- The difficulty of ‘believing a lie’
- Keeping a character of part ‘FRESH’ over many performances
Can I speak to you? How can you stand it? You can go anywhere. You can do anything. How can you stand being here? I just talked to my father. He’s making me quit the play at Henley Hall. Acting is everything to me. I – but he doesn’t know. He’s planning the rest of my life for me and he’s never asked me what I want. I can’t. I can’t talk to him this way. I know what he’ll say. He’ll tell me that acting’s a whim and I should forget it – that they’re counting on me. But what about the play? I’m trapped.
Today was the fourth day of our “Hack FA” Ignite Week!
So, today I did my first laser cut test. To test, I copy and pasted one piece and one square from the chessboard to test out. Why did I have to do this test? Because I had to know if my pieces would actually fit into the holes that I put into the chessboard squares. I had to laser cut three times, because the first time it was a little bit too big, the second time it was too tight, but the third time, I thought that it’ll work out. So, I made the necessary changes to my actual chessboard so I can have the accurate measurements when I actually laser cut the actual board.
Tomorrow we will actually be having our Ignite Week exhibition. Yes, every group exhibits what they have accomplished in Ignite Week, and there will be parents coming! Tomorrow I will be showing off my amazing chessboard! Chess-Bored, actually. 😉
Today was the third day of our “Hack FA” Ignite Week!
Today, I finished designing everything I need for my chessboard. I finished all the chess pieces for the game, and now I just need to print it so I can laser cut it. Speaking of which, I will laser cut the chessboard and chess pieces tomorrow. Hopefully, everything works out!
I also started working on a presentation on PowerPoint, because Friday will be our Ignite Week exhibition! We will be sharing our presentation on that day. Tomorrow I also plan to finish that up.
Day 3 over!
So, today I printed out the design I made yesterday, AKA the practice design for our project. It was perfectly cut out by the laser cutter, and it looks pretty good! We used cardboard for this practice one.
Also, today I came up with my idea for “hacking” the FA space. Our group decided that we should maybe have a game corner in the FA space for board games. So, I decided to make a chess board using Adobe Illustrator, so people can play chess at break time.
The reason why there are rectangles in the middle of each square on the chess board is because my chess pieces will indeed be two-dimensional. That way, players can stick their chess pieces into the holes so they don’t fall. I also started making these chess pieces using Adobe Illustrator, I’m not quite finished yet.
Tomorrow I plan to finish making all the chess pieces so we have a full set. If possible, I might even be able to use the laser cutter to cut them out!