Final Acting Scene – Critical Analysis

This PJ entry will describe the process we undertook to present our final acting scene. It will also include the actual final result, what went well, and what we need to improve on.

  • Describe the process you and your ensemble went through to create your final scene

First, we started by reading through the act and analyzing the plot and the characters. More specifically, we determined the personality of each character and accordingly matched them with us to see who was most fitting. Afterward, memorizing our lines was what we worked on the most. We did this not only by practicing during class but also outside at home. Once we got through the lines, we practiced blocking, especially paying attention to what movements fit each character. We realized that we needed more staging because, at the start, we had so little movement that the audience couldn’t be engaged. Towards the last few days, we put everything together for a final acting scene.

  • What steps did YOU take to ensure you had the best possible scene to present?

I really worked on trying to convey my personality. My character was really pessimist and realistic and much less dreamy than the other characters, so I thought that showing this contrast was really important because it helped build the plot. So, I worked on both my tone and movements. I had limited movements because I was kind of lazy and not very active. So, I didn’t take the approach that I was really active and just trying to get out of there.

  • What was your rehearsal process like?

In rehearsals, we commenced by doing a short warmup. However, sometimes we forgot and it showed because we got distracted very easily. When we did do a warmup, we did stretching with voice exercises. Afterward, we would read through our lines twice without movement just to familiarize ourselves with it and prepare for the next step, which was the same thing with movement. So, we got up and practiced our staging, and with our bottles, notebooks, papers, and pens. Finally, we would reflect and decide what we needed to still work on. For example, one time, with the help of this process, we realized that we still needed to work on our characters’ reactions.

  • After viewing your scene, did you meet your “INTENTION and IMPACT”?

One intention was to make humor so that the audience would be more engaged. Although we had a couple serious parts throughout the play, we also wanted the audience to laugh so that there would be a balance.

Although that was one intention, our main was, “while you should take control of your life and not wait for things to come to you, you should always be open to new ideas because you never know what will happen if you don’t try.” I think that this was communicated pretty well. In the beginning, my character was really reluctant but she eventually opened up at the end when she met another opportunity. Because a person who has such negative views could see the bright side of a situation, I think my character helped to convey this intention really well.

Our impact was, “as kids, we tend to plan out our futures too early. However, even though setting goals motivate you to aim higher, you should be more open in the path you choose to get there.” It is obvious that we are teens, especially Aly and Jules because we are immature and childish. So, it is easier for the audience who were around the same age to relate to this play and walk away with this message.

  • How did your rehearsal process help or hinder your final piece?

Our rehearsal process majorly affected our final piece because we could find out what we still needed to work on. Also, outside of class, we worked individually. However, by collaborating during class we could give each other feedback and use all of our ideas together to travel to greater lengths.

  • What is a big idea you can take away from the process?

Time management if the first thing that comes to my mind. In like the first week or so, we didn’t concentrate that much and didn’t always get our work done. As a result, we had to make up for it in the later weeks, so we had to cram a lot of work in a very short period of time. Next time, if we are more organized and work more productively, we won’t need to stress a lot last minute.

  • Anything else you would like to share?

I really wish we had done more warmups prior to practicing because we tend to be very giggly and get distracted easily, so this would help us to focus and be in the moment.

 

 

 

Friday

For my costume, I was thinking of looking like a nerd trying to look cool. This is because the popular girls in my monologue are most likely only using me for my car, and not because they actually want to be my friend. I think I’ll wear a pair of jeans and a shirt with some weird quote on it. I’ll also wear some earrings that don’t match too well with it and probably leave my hair untied, ur up in a ponytail, OR, in 2 braids. I’ll also use a chair at the start of the monologue (the one in the class that we have is fine, but maybe a sofa chair or dining table chair or something that you would actually have at your house would be better suited).

 

Wednesday

Today, I worked with Hannah and Loviise. I think I have a pretty strong start. I practiced my monologue a couple times before performing it in front of them and received a lot of constructive feedback that will help to improve it further. For example, I need to use more emotion, specifically desperation, to really show the audience how my character feels. I was also told that I need to talk at a more appropriate pace in some parts as I hurried a lot. To become better I need to practice by myself with the advice I have received, check the rubric, and perform again in front of my peers for any more changes.

 

 

Reflection (Acting)

  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) 

There was one activity in particular in which one person came up with an idea for the next person to perform, and the next person would act this out and it would continue on in this pattern. This activity benefited my acting skills because I was able to become more creative, not only with acting but coming up with ideas. Coming up with simple, unoriginal ideas like “climbing the stairs” was boring for the audience because there was an action, nothing happening. For example, if this was the plot of a movie, no one would watch it with interest. So, I learned from my mistakes that I should think outside of the box and be more imaginative in order to create more complex ideas such as “being chased by a tiger in the rain”. Additionally, I am now able to act better because, at the start of this activity, I would pause and think about how I could act the idea out that I was just given. I wanted it to be perfect and make sure it played out properly without any errors. However, towards the end, I stopped taking time to think and acted instantly without thinking. I decided to play around with it and see where it went for things to be more fun. This helps with improvisational skills and I have learned that I should just see where my body leads me rather than thinking about it thoroughly before. One of the most important things about acting is just to let go and have fun, and you cannot do that if you are constantly planning things out and not allowing yourself to experiment a bit.

  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) 

Something that was both new and challenging to me was the very first activity we did in class in which we would walk around the room and then had to pretend to be a certain person or do a certain thing. For example, to pretend to be a cheerleader or say goodbye to a best friend. I found this challenging because I had to imagine what that particular person would do or say and act this out really well in order to actually copy their role. I had to use certain actions, gestures, and facial expressions. While this was difficult, I also found it really fun and it allowed me to experiment around and be free. In other words, it didn’t restrict me into having just one role, or one personality. What I got from this activity was experience in improvisation. I learned that you don’t need to make a script beforehand in order to do well, practicing the skill is really simply the key. You need to participate and include yourself because you can’t improve your own skills by sitting down on the side and watching others perform. I also learned that the facial expression and tone you use is really important because it can completely change the message you are trying to communicate.  For example, when we did the spaghetti and meatballs activity, even though everyone used the exact same words, there were still different situations caused by different tones, facial expressions, and actions.

  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?)   

An idea that was reinforced was that you can just be creative with yourself and see where things go. As mentioned previously, in improvisation, similarly to in daily life, you don’t have a script that you have written beforehand containing a list of things you are going to say. Instead, you go up there and the conversation kind of just carries on from one idea to the next. This is why I was reminded that you need to just be in confident in yourself and don’t need to worry that you will mess up because there is no such thing as messing up in improvisation. There is no right or wrong. Even if you do feel like you made a mistake, just forget about it and move on, don’t stay fixated on it. There are many different ways to express yourself and to communicate. Just remember to be included at the moment, not anywhere else, not constantly thinking about what will make sense and what will not. It is important that you relax and don’t worry.

  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?)                                  

One connection I can make from this improv unit to theatre practice, in general, is that you need to open yourself up and be really flexible with ideas. You cannot restrict yourself to one thing and one thing only because you will not get anywhere. Similarly, when someone makes an offer to you, you have to say yes and not no. You also need to challenge yourself and do things that you normally wouldn’t do which is really vital to make things interesting help build confidence. Speaking of confidence, I have really noticed that I have taken bigger steps by challenging myself even if I feel uncomfortable in doing so. For example, I volunteer and participate in activities knowing that I will have to improvise and make things up. In doing so, this has really benefited my acting talent because I have really been able to express myself and take on different roles more effectively through means of opening up. All in all, improvisation as well as acting practice has allowed me to try new things and stepping out of my comfort zone has really allowed me to develop into a more confident person. This is a useful skill that will not only help me in acting but also in everyday life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Engineering Project #4

During the last class to finish my project, my plan consisted of 4 steps. Firstly, to check if my LED lights were functioning properly. The second step would be to fit the dc motor inside the can so that it would be snug in place. This would prevent it from moving around too much and disconnecting itself from the hand crank. After this step, I planned to connect the hand crank to the dc motor. Finally, I would decorate my flashlight and make it more aesthetically pleasing if I had any time remaining.

  1. I attached the LED lights to the DC motor by connecting the red wires on one side and the black wires on the other side. To secure the wires in place, I used the soldering method and added some tape as well just in case. Then, I span the metal very rapidly to check if the LED lights were functioning properly, which they did, as you can see in the video inserted below.

Vania Dussizza 2019-01-01 21.53.32.mp4

2. Next, I adjusted the dc motor in place. I placed the metal cylindrical section of the dc motor through the hole at the bottom of the can that I had created the previous class. Then, to make sure the dc motor wouldn’t move around, I stuffed approximately 12 cotton balls around the dc motor. I used a wooden dowel to push the cotton balls inside the can since my hand would not fit inside.

 

3. The third and most difficult step was connecting the hand crank to the dc motor. My initial idea was to use a wooden dowel. So, I drilled a hole inside of it, approximately 1 cm long. Then, I inserted the metal cylinder sticking outside of the can into the hole I had just produced. After waiting for it to dry and connect together, I span the dowel around very rapidly. However, the sparks that were produced were very limited and almost nonexistent. For this reason, the dowel was not suited to make a flashlight. Next, I tried to use an actual hand crank; a yellow piece of plastic. I repeated the same steps involving drilling a hole, but this did not work either. Finally, I repeated the same steps with a big drill. This did not work either, however.

So, in the end, I realized that not enough energy was generated in the spinning process. I think that more powerful LED lights would have been useful but would have still not solved the problem because the problem actually existed within the hand crank and dc motor. When spinning the actual dowel or drill or yellow plastic product, not enough energy was transferred to the dc motor. A possible solution would have been to drill a smaller hole in the hand crank so that the dc motor’s cylinder would have been fit inside really snugly. This would have allowed it to spin with the hand crank, rather than just fitting inside which could have possibly been the case in my flashlight.

The things that I learned and did well were soldering. This was a new technique for me and I was able to use it effectively. Previously, I had been using tape which had been very ineffective as the wires did not fit securely in and would keep detaching themselves from the dc motor.

If this flashlight had actually functioned properly, the client would have been a person who lived in a less developed country or did not have constant access to electricity. Alternatively, people who go on trips such as hikes would find this product useful as well. This is a cheap and simple project that can be made by anyone if instructions are followed properly. So, if a person is not able to buy an actual flashlight, they can always construct one of these.

Overall, this was a really enjoyable project. I would try constructing a flashlight again and would be able to use all my knowledge gained to make a new and improved version. Next time, I would use different materials and find a different website to follow the instructions from.

 

 

 

 

5 Questions Acting

  1. What did we/you do in class?

Practiced improvisation and developed new acting skills.

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

I noticed that I created a character and tried to change into that new person when acting. I did this using certain gestures, attitude, and actions.

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

You need to say yes and accept an offer or you won’t be able to move forward.

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

Even if something goes wrong just ignore it and move on. Don’t stay fixated on your mistakes.

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

Theatre helps build confidence and communicate more effectively.

Effective Ensemble Member Qualities

  1. Risk taker
  2. Positive and energetic
  3. Aware and in control
  4. Focused
  5. Active listeners
  6. Cooperative and collaborative
  7. Efficient
  8. Leaders and followers
  9. Positively critical and able to act on criticism

Most important/beneficial:

I believe that being cooperative and collaborative is the most important quality out of these nine. Being part of an ensemble means that you are a part of a group or team. So, it is really important that everyone is able to get along in order to work together effectively.

What I should focus on this semester and why:

This semester, my goal is to be an active listener. I often get distracted so I will try to focus more during class and pay more attention to the surroundings.

#theatreprocessjournal #theatreensemble #theatrenotes

 

 

Engineering Project #3

My plan for today was to gather all my materials and start constructing my soda can by rinsing it out, cutting out a hole at the bottom, and removing the top surface. However, I was unable to gather all the materials needed for this project as I did not have a plastic bottle top and chopstick (which I had decided to incorporate in the last minute). Luckily, I did not need to use any of these items today so it did not interfere with my work.

The following pictures show the work I finished today:

Making a hole in the bottom of the can using the tips of a pair of scissors.

Cutting out the top surface of the can

As for the LED lights, the advice I was given was that the metal on the tips was very short and could not function properly if so little was exposed to the dc motor. So, to prepare the LED lights for the following class, I used the tool on the right to remove excess rubber on the ends of the wires in order to expose the DC motor to more metal.