Final Monologue Performance Reflection

Loviise Puntso

Acting and Naturalism

March 6, 2019

Critique and Reflection of Monologue

 

Characterization:

I spent a long time thinking about what exactly to do with my character in terms of how to best express her as a person, and this internal conflict and struggle that she is going through. I found that a quite fast, unexpected change of pace, movement, breathing, expression, emotion, and volume most effectively expressed Elise and her extreme struggle in choosing whether to stay with the man she loves or going out to set a fire – something that she loves doing.

I was still and did not speak at first, which pulled my audience in more because they wanted to know what would happen. My almost constant back and forth movement – away from the bench/bed (where the man Elise loves was sleeping) and then towards the bench/bed – as well as my change in facial expression, pace, volume, breathing, and movement expressed really how torn she was between these two very difficult things. She is tired of lying but her extreme passion is breaking through this tiredness.

 

During several parts of my monologue – in particular when Elise said “We have too many buildings don’t you think? Too many construction sites, empty warehouses, all so much fuel. It’s a service to take away these extra dangerous buildings, they are dry and cracked and falling down and they need a good match, a good flame, a cleansing of the palate, a cleansing of the city.” – I looked over at the bench with a pained expression and my pace increased and my volume did as well. These were all choices I made to show Elise trying to explain herself and her reasoning as to why she must go set a fire to the man she loves (despite the fact that he is asleep and he actually cannot hear her), as if he must understand why she will leave and set fire to buildings. But this also shows the main concept that I attempted to express – which is that she is trying to convince herself that setting fires is alright and that she is doing it for a good reason. She is trying to justify her actions and desires to herself. This all alludes to the fact that this entire conversation with herself happens inside her head. Because her entire struggle is happening inside her head. It’s her secret conflict, hidden from the entire world, but from herself.

 

Focus:

I maintained focus throughout my monologue and did not break character. I not only memorized my lines, but from all of the time I spent rehearsing (at school as well as at home every night), but I knew them almost as if I had written them myself and they became really part of me as I performed the monologue. It didn’t appear as if I was simply reading memorized lines. I felt as if I really “became” Elise. I grew to really understand her as a person, to understand her internal struggle and conflict, and to relate to her.

 

Performer Skills:

I was clear and audible through most of my performance, except for a few instances in which it might have been a little more difficult to understand what I was saying. This is because of the fact that I wanted to show really how torn she was and that even her own words and thoughts were not very clear. Her thinking was blurred by her intense desire to love her man but also to set a fire. My pacing was mostly how I intended for it to be. I wanted to get fast and then slow, to show Elise’s imbalanced emotions and unstable emotional and mental state. However, during some parts I believe that my pace was a bit too fast. Through my words, facial expression, pace, and movement, I decently communicated my character’s intentions, struggle and passion.

 

Staging:

My staging choices were mostly planned, but I left an improvisation aspect to my movement because of my character. I wanted to show how emotionally conflicted and anxious she is and how tired she is of lying. There is also an aspect of her that is spontaneous and largely controlled by her emotions and intense passion and desires. There is a very intense amount of passion and desire, but also fear, under her tiredness, which leaks through he tired physical and mental state. Improvising some of my movement made the scene more natural, relatable, spontaneous, and gave my character more expression and meaning. My constant movement away from and towards the bench was another intentional choice to express to my audience Elise’s extremely difficult, immense struggle.

 

Rehearsal Process:

Throughout most of the rehearsal process I was focused and used my time wisely. However, I found that I was able to accomplish more, rehearse more, and focus more when I was practicing and thinking about my monologue at home. However, I did perform my monologue several times in front of my peers and teacher and received feedback. I then attempted to implement as much of that feedback as I could while still staying true to my interpretation of my character and the scene. I believe that because of my extra rehearsal time at home – as well as the feedback from peers and my teacher – I added more to my scene as a whole.

 

 

Monologue Peer Feedback

Monologue Peer Feedback

 

Good:

 

  • Good use of facial expressions and laughter and smiles (overall good facial movement).
  • Good pacing.
  • Good focus – stayed in character the entire scene.
  • Effective stage choices and character direction and placement.
  • Effective use of rehearsal times and an attitude willing to learn, adapt and change.

 

 

Needs Improvement:

 

  • Needs more movement and hand gestures (more effective physical movement) in order to express the character’s insanity and internal struggle.
  • More intonation (raise and lower voice and put emphasis on certain words).
  • More effectively and accurately express the character’s insanity (really become Elise).
  • Divide or separate the struggles – show the change in Elise as she struggles through two sides of herself (to more effectively show her two-sided internal struggle).

PJ Final Entry

  1. What were some of the significant activities in improvisation and what did you learn from them?(you choose the ones that actually taught you something)

Over the course of the past several classes on improvisation, I have learned new, unique, incredibly interesting ways in which I can improve my improvisation skills.

An example of an improvisation activity – that really stands out to me – that we did during class was when we used three people who were the “know-it-all-3000-machine”. Three people sat on a bench and were asked a random and open-ended question. Each person could say one word at a time – in turn – to create a full sentence/sentences in answer to the question. This activity taught me two very important lessons about improvisation. Firstly, I learned that in improvisation one person cannot control the entire scene. They have to accept the offers of others, continue the scene without pause, and be listening to others in order to add on in an effective and valuable manner. I learned that I had an equal part in adding to the scene and having it go somewhere. I couldn’t say any more than one word at a time. I could not control what the person before or after me said, and I couldn’t have any preplanned lines, because I couldn’t have any idea where the scene would go. I had to be ready to go with and accept the offers given to me and quickly continue it. I also learned that I need to think fast and be spontaneous. I didn’t have time to sit and think about what I should say. I had to listen carefully to what the people before me said and say my own word without wait time. I had to say the first thing that came to mind – in other words, I had to say a word that felt right, belonged in the scene, would add to and continue the scene, and – when appropriate – create fun twists in the scene that would work well. Twists and changes, however, in improvisation scenes cannot be too extreme, because then the scene does not connect and appears to simply be unorganized, chaotic, and make no sense.

Another activity that we did during class that taught me a lot more about the art of improvisation was the “two-person-and-two-chairs-scene”. Person “A” was given a prompt – the very first line of the scene – and they had to quickly decide how they would deliver this line. They couldn’t control what person “B” would say or do next, but they were able to set the tone for the scene and give some context as to what was happening. From there it was teamwork, spontaneousness, creativity, and staying in character. With this activity, I really also learned how important it is to stay in character. Many of the scenes were very humorous, but if the actors broke character and started laughing it became far less so. When I stayed in character throughout the scene, even whilst others were laughing, it increased the quality and humor of the scene.

  1. What did you do that was NEW to you or CHALLENGED you in some way? (if it was new, please make sure to say what you got from this -OR- make sure to say how or why it challenged you)

Scenes with more than two people really seemed to present a challenge for me. Because I am such a person that I like to control, lead, and often dominate a project or scene, I found it strange and out of my comfort zone to become part of an ensemble and build off of other’s ideas, listen to and accept their offers, and not try to be the center of the scene. This isn’t because I want to have all of the attention of the audience for myself, but rather because I am so used to having to do all of the work for others because they do not do it. However, I’ve found that that is not the case in this class. All of my peers are highly capable of playing their own parts and adding value to the scene, and I think that it will be extremely valuable for me to learn to be a part of a scene instead of the only part of a scene.

This is a huge lesson that I have learned in this unit on improvisation and something that I really want to focus on and improve myself throughout the rest of this semester.

Being able to listen to others, accept their offers and add value to the scene and add to their actions, words and ideas creates a much more interesting, balanced, successful scene that people want to watch.

  1. What did you do that SUPPORTED your current knowledge or CONFIRMED/REINFORCED something you already knew? (make the connection for me. How did it support or confirm?)

Before coming to any of these classes I knew that improvisation was about being spontaneous, confident, and creative, and I’ve learned that those are true.

Being spontaneous is very important I believe because, without it, a scene is very dull, boring, unexciting, and terrible to watch. Actors that are spontaneous add a lot more interest to the scene and energy. They can add an entirely new level to a scene, make it more exciting, and new/unique/original.

Confidence, something that not very many 9th graders have a ton of, I have learned is very, very important in improvisation. Without confidence, an actor will not be able to be spontaneous, take risks, be loud, or be effective. They will not be comfortable taking risks, making mistakes, trying new things, and improving their improvisation skills.

Creativity, as I thought before, is also very important. Without creativity, an actor will be unable to create a new, original scene. The scene will likely be cliché, uninteresting, and dull. A creative person can take a simple prompt and create a unique, interesting, natural-feeling, developed scene. Development of a scene is incredibly important. Without it, a scene will be very surface-level, basic, and uninteresting for the viewer and actor.

I learned these things during the large variety of improvisation activities done in class, listening to my teacher, and even speaking with my peers. I learned and reinforced this knowledge a majority of the time because of the mistakes that I made. Criticism from my teacher, peers and myself were all extremely valuable in my experience, learning and improvement. Hands on learning followed by constructive criticism is the most effective way to learn for myself. That is why the activities done in class were so effective. For example, every activity in which we were given a vague prompt and no time to prepare is when I learned the most. Not only did I have to combat my urge to control the entire scene, but I also had to be creative and try doing and saying things that I have never done before and never would have. I realized quickly that overthinking things and trying to force the other actors to do what I wanted was very futile. Perhaps at the time, when I made mistakes and received feedback, I was a bit upset with myself for making these mistakes, but looking back on it, I would not have learned much at all if I hadn’t. People – particularly myself – do not learn much of anything when they succeed at something. They learn almost only when they make a mistake, which is why often success follows mistakes.

  1. CONNECT the improv unit to your current theatre/acting practice or something outside of theatre. (what connections can you make and what is the result of that connection in your learning?)

Over the course of this unit on improv, I have learned many things that pertain not only to the class, but also to life. Life itself is entirely improvisation. Every conversation with a friend, family member or teacher, every essay, every college application, every job interview, every day, every answer to every question that your Acting teacher asked you, everything, is improv. None of us have a script for our life, for every interaction, and for every event. We simply improvise. We have been doing so our entire lives.

In a class on improvisation, we can learn some very important lessons that we can apply not only in that class to get a good grade, but even in life, to have more successful, fulfilling lives. Some of the most important things that I learned this past unit, to be more successful in improv, include these things: become part of the ensemble, do not try to take over the scene, be spontaneous, be creative, accept offers, give my own offers when the scene isn’t going anywhere, create a unique character that adds value to the scene, keep the scene going, stay in character, listen to others before acting, have fun, and make mistakes that I learn from. These same exact lessons can and should be applied to how I live my life. I should become part of society and the world around me, don’t try to always be the center of attention and the person who does everything, take risks (don’t be afraid to do things others have been afraid to do), be creative by using my own ideas in my own life and actions to change a negative situation or continue a positive one, learn to accept and adapt when life throws me challenges or new things, whether difficult or easy, be myself so that I add value to my life and those of others around me by making small or big differences, don’t give up no matter the challenge, do what it is I set out to do instead of giving up or changing it because of difficulties, think about my words and actions before I say or do them and listen to others and understand a situation before acting or speaking, learn from all of my past mistakes, and have fun in life – live the fulfilling and happy life that I want to live.

Whether it be in math class understanding and solving the newest confusing circle theorem, in English class writing an entirely self-directed essay, on a track figuring out how to increase my speed, in dance learning a new movement, in a book discovering a new word, or simply having a conversation with a family member, we are all improvising, trying to do our best, learning, being ourselves, and changing the world in some small way. I think it’s wise to learn some tips and tricks that will help us in our quest to change the world. I think Acting and Naturalism is a very good class that is filled with these tips and tricks.

Some might say that these things are cheesy, and I just made them up so that I can get a good grade, but I genuinely believe them. There are lessons that we can all learn in the smallest of instances and the strangest of places (not that acting class is at all small or strange of course) that can and will completely change and better our lives if we simply pay attention, listen, learn, and implement them.

I myself, this past unit, and actually these past 14 years of my life, have tried to control everything and everyone. But frankly speaking, that is impossible. It is exhausting and unfulfilling. I cannot control or change everyone every situation. Only myself and how I decide to act or speak when things go wrong. A scene, as well as life, is uninteresting and exhausting if one person is controlling everything. Nothing new will happen, no one will learn anything, and no one will be particularly happy. I need to listen to others, accept their offers, give my own offers, continue the scene, take risks, and have fun. Because no one likes an overly controlling actor or person.

Overall, I have really enjoyed this past unit on improvisation. It has been filled with laughter and new lessons. I’m glad that I had the chance to really learn some things – in a new, exciting, fun, and interesting way – in at least one of my classes at school (hahaha). This isn’t just for the good grade by the way, but Acting and Naturalism is by far my favorite class.

Stage 4 – Reflect and Share

Final Design:

 

How it works: 

Visually: Water is poured into the turbine, causing the turbine to spin, as well as the rubber band which is connected to the gear. This gear turns the dc motor, and powers the LED.

Energy: The falling water has a high amount of gravitational potential energy, which is transferred to the turbine causing it to spin. This is because the gravitational potential energy is converted into kinetic energy. This kinetic energy is transferred to the rubber band, then the gear, and then into the motor. Inside the motor, this kinetic energy is converted into electrical energy. This electrical energy powers the LED.

 

How it does not work: 

Due to the several transfers of energy, much of the initial potential energy (from the water) is lost by the time it reaches the LED. On a much larger scale, the number of transfers of energy must be reduced, or there will be a lot of energy lost and little gained.

 

During the process:

My first design idea was unable to be created due to the lack of the necessary resources. The second design idea was able to be created, however, due to the fact that there were only two “turbines”, it did not rotate completely. I added another two turbines, but due to the fact that the thick rubber band and toy car wheel it was attached to did not spin fast enough, not enough energy was created to power the LED. To fix this issue I changed the rubber band to a much thinner one and exchanged the toy car wheel for a thin gear. These changes allowed the design to function and power the LED.

With this design, there is a lot of potential water that will be wasted. So I wooden stands on the design and placed it over a container to catch the used water. This water can then we reused for this design or for other purposes.

I had wanted to create a continual water system to attach to my design to allow it to be continuous and regenerating. I had several ideas as to how I could accomplish this task, but due to a lack of sufficient time, I was unable to put these ideas into action. Given more time, I would have added this feature to allow this design to be regenerating and so it creates more energy than it wastes.

A possible solution to this issue is placing the design into a continually flowing body of water, such as a stream or a waterfall. The downside to this idea is that the motor, LED, and wires could be damaged by the water. To combat this,  I would need to place a waterproof barrier of some sort over these electrical elements of the design or change it so that these elements would not be in the water.

If given more time I also would have created some sort of waterproof barrier for the motor, wires and LED for when the water (in this case from the faucet) is poured into the turbine. This is due to the fact that some water makes its way onto these elements. Not all of the water falls down into the container I have. I would need more time to create a design in which this does not occur.

 

Overall thoughts:

The design I created does, in fact, accomplish the task I created it to. It transfers potential gravitational energy from water into kinetic energy from the spinning motion of the turbine and then into electrical energy to power the LED. And while the design was “a success”, if given more time I would have liked to go beyond the expectations and improve the design further.

Acting and Naturalism Process Journal

  1. What did we/you do in class?

In class, we hit a ball back and forth between us in a circle, trying to get as many hits in as possible without the ball hitting the ground. Our high score was 14. We also played “What are you doing?” We walked around, increasingly fast, and jumped 8 times together, in synch. Then 7, 6, 5, and so forth. We had two kinds of two-person improvisation scenes: one was two people sitting on chairs, and person “A” was given a beginning line, and then person “B” had to accept the offer and continue the scene. The second one was two people on a park bench, and one of the people had to do something to get the other person to leave the bench.

  1. How did you respond to what you did in class? or, what did you notice about what you did?

I really enjoyed the two-person improvisation scenes. They allowed me to be creative and simply act on what was happening. They allowed me to create new and interesting characters and experiment.

  1. What is something that you learned about theatre that is NEW to you?

There is a lot more moving around involved in theatre than I first thought. I imagined acting as people standing and talking as different characters, perhaps walking a bit as well.

  1. What is something that either supports or reinforces what you already knew about theatre?

Theatre really allows people to be creative and imaginative. It allows people to create whatever character they wish to and create very unique scenes.

  1. How can you connect what we/you did in class to other areas of your life – theatre related or otherwise?

The more creative you are in theatre (especially in improvisation), the better the scene. In life, the more creative you are, the better your life, and the more you can accomplish.

Effective Ensemble Member Qualities

1. Which of these qualities do you feel is the most important? (and why)

I think that being a Risk Taker is the most important quality because, without the ability to go outside of one’s comfort zone, try new things, and take risks, one will not get very far in improvisation or acting. It is impossible to be a good actor and/or improviser without taking risks and staying in one’s comfort zone.

2. Which one of these qualities do you feel you need to work on this semester? AND WHY (don’t forget the WHY part)

I think that I need to work on being an active listener more. I usually am thinking mostly about my own actions and what I will say, instead of really listening to the other person(s) and using what they say or do to further the scene. I am used to taking charge and doing everything myself, but I need to learn to instead listen and be a part of the scene, instead of being the main element in the scene.

Stage 2 – Hydroelectric Power Generator

Model:

 

Materials:
  • 1 Soda can
  • 1 Exacto knife
  • 7 plastic spoons / toy shovels
  • Hot glue
  • Pvc pipe (two that are approx. 12 in)
  • 1 Bicycle inner wheel tube (for the belt)
  • 1 Toy car wheel
  • 1 9v dc motor
  • LED ( with short black and red wires to connect LED to motor)
  • 1 Pen refill tube (empty)
  • Water
  • 1 Wooden board (approx. 15 by 7 in)
  • 1 Wooden block (small)
  • 1 Wooden rod (to fit through soda can)

 

Plan (by day):

Thursday: 

Locate needed materials. If not available at school, order from Baopal or buy from a store. If Wooden board, block, and pipes are available, build the base of the structure. Plan to bring soda can from home and other materials that are unavailable at school. Finish plan, model, and materials list. Get these approved and posted.

Monday: 

Have all materials needed for Hydroelectric Power Generator. Build the complete model. First test. Take pictures and video evidence. Record data. Post.

Wednesday:

Make any needed improvements. If needed, rebuild. Perform several tests. Take pictures and video evidence. Record data. Ask advice and possible improvements from teachers. Post.

Friday:

Make any final needed improvements. Test. Take pictures and video evidence. Record data. Ask for feedback from teachers. Take final pictures and record final data of finished Hydroelectric Power Generator. Submit finals posts.

Stage 1 – Hydroelectric Power Generator

Blogpost #1: Define and Inquire

What is this engineering task?

Take a renewable energy source and convert it into electrical energy.

What are you thinking about doing? (this can be multiple ideas)

  • Hydroelectric power generator

Embed images and links of ideas you like/don’t like

ANALYZE those ideas: What are the pros/cons about those ideas?

PROS:

They all create electrical energy using a renewable energy source: water.

CONS:

Cannot supply a large amount of electrical energy.