Reflection on Political Identity

Write a blog post in which you reflect on who you are politically, and what the implications of this are for you as a knower. Be sure to include your results on each of the tests as well as touching on some of the questions from the start of the lesson:

  • Do you consider yourself to be “political”? Why or why not?
  • What does it mean to be political?
  • Is everything political? Why or why not?
  • How important do you feel it is to be aware of what is going on in politics?
  • What are the political issues that you believe are most important right now and why?

Who am I politically?

First of all, what does it mean to be political? Being political is being aware and holding ideas of a particular group, party, or government. Most of the time, being “political” is described as the latter, where one holds opinions of particular governmental, social, and economic issues.

For all of my political tests, I was very moderate in economic and social views. I have found myself in the center of the Nolan chart and political compass/axis tests, and I rank exactly “average” on the political bias test. I definitely do not consider myself as actively “political.” I am politically aware of certain issues but I tend to not hold strong opinions. The reason why I do not hold strong opinions is largely due to my personality, where I am quite non-judgemental and would rather prefer a factual and objective view on problems. Perhaps I may even want to distance myself from being “political” as these terms tend to have negative connotations recently.

Everything can be political. My recent experiences and events told me that this is the case. A daily action, word, or almost anything that anyone can do can be labeled as political. There was this filmed satirical short where after a Black Panther premiere, two white people greeted two black people with the “Wakanda Forever” salute where the arms are crossed in front of the chest. Those black people found it to be uncomfortable and implied how the salute could only be used by black people, similar to reappropriated terminology. Even a friendly gesture could be labeled as political. Your small gesture can always be related to something political.

 

“The Social Dilemma” Reflection and Discussion

Post your biggest takeaways from “The Social Dilemma” and the follow-up collaborative discussion to your blog.

 

Biggest takeaways:

When I finished watching the documentary “The Social Dilemma,” I learned many new things about social networks and the algorithms behind them. I had very limited knowledge of the algorithms of computer algorithms such as the “YouTube recommendations” computer. I only knew that they “push” to you what you usually watch and your interests.

I have learned that algorithms may only make your thoughts more polarized through positive reinforcement, and this polarization is detrimental to society and what causes many protests and violence in the world today. I never knew about this, as I do not view politics-related videos on YouTube.

Social networks weren’t supposed to be manipulating at first, it was developed and spun out of control, yet the inventors and designers of those social networks didn’t do anything to stop it. Should they let it keep on? Should they be to blame? What should we do with those supercomputers? Those are very good questions to debate.

The documentary showed me how scary and potentially dangerous social networking is, and it is sometimes a good idea to opt-out (or trick) the algorithm and not let the algorithm affect you. From now, I will consciously try to reduce my time on social networks and perhaps do more productive and engaging things in life.

 

 

Collaborative discussion + notes

Knowledge Question/Concept Your Notes
Given modern advances in technology, how can we distinguish between information and disinformation, deliberate misinformation, and manipulation?  -Information age to disinformation

-Social media is a drug

If something is a tool, it is genuinely sitting there

 

Bicycle analogy

If something isn’t, its demanding and manipulating you

-addiction-based technology environment

 

We need to be more aware what companies actually wan (by using subliminal effect on the mind)

-exploiting human psychology just for profit

 

They are not designed by people trying to care or nurture

 

-Are we evolved to have social approval and care about what hundreds or thousands think of us?

-Inflating the truth. Fake brittle popularity

 

Manipulative politicians, finding our weakness

 

 

#pizzagate is a conspiracy theory that was widespread by social media

Ordering a pizza is ordering a trafficked person

 

Fake news spread 6x faster than true news

 

Biased towards false information

 

People have no idea what is true and what is not, and it is killing people because of COVID-19

 

 

 

 

To what extent do social networks reinforce our existing perspective rather than boosting our engagement with diverse perspectives? Positive intermittent reinforcement

-An unconscious implant that you are being programmed at a deeper level

-“play the slot machine to see what you get” (e.g. TikTok)

-tagging photos, tapping into human personality -> why doesn’t the email have the photo?

-Ellipsis, someone is typing, autotyping

-Growth hacking, hack psychology for growth

-We can affect real-world emotions without people realizing

-Exploiting a human vulnerability in human psychology

How has technology had an impact on how we browse, search and filter data and information? Can algorithms be biased?  Algorithms can alter how we think, what we do, and who we are. You need a lot of data.

Almost no human intervention, the more data we feed, the more they can predict. They can predict models with more of our data and predict what we do.

-> what emotions trigger you?

-> recommended

-> feed

Engagement (usage), growth (keep you coming back and inviting more friends), advertising (they make money”

 

Algorithms know what to show you to keep those satisfied. A third person manipulates everything, such as connections and algorithms.

 

AI already runs the world today, such as massive server rooms in Google and algorithms (commercial success)

These AI are getting better and better, it has a   mind of its own, machine learning

 

To what extent have technological developments led to an increase in data being collected without people’s consent or when they are unaware that it is being collected? If you are not paying for the product, then you are the product.

 

Selling individual data

 

Monetization

 

Changing what you do, who you are, what you think

 

Surveillance capitalism, new market

 

They have more information about “us” then what we imagine

 

Markets that trade in human futures, and that is making them lots of money.

Should we hold people responsible for the applications of technologies they develop/create?  -Nobody social media developer expected this to happen

-These creations take on a mind of their own, there isn’t a single person who should be blamed

-No one was making it less addictive

-They still feel responsible.

 

What impact has social media had on how we acquire and share political

knowledge?

Wikipedia would give you personalized information and definitions  and are paid by other to do it. That’s exactly what is happening in social media.

 

You have a feeling that everyone is agreeing with you because those who agree are the only that show up on your feed.

 

-polarization in society

 

Facebook is one of the greatest tools for persuasion, there has never been a more effective tools to persuade and sway opinions

 

Manipulate elections: make a conspiracy theory

 

Extreme centrism

 

Sowing political discord in HongKong

 

Democracy crumbled quickly when the the “diet” is only social media. Social media is threatening democracy, especially in weaker countries. However, developed countries are also facing the same issues. Destabilize and erode the fabric of society?

 

Russians didn’t hack Facebook, and Russia exploited this in a nefarious way. Countries can now influence others without even invading physical borders.

 

Tribalism is tearing “our country” apart. We are being split politically as people get more polarized, it will only cause more violence and  a heavier filter will be put in place that will only tell us that we are right.

 

Society is devolving

 

Civil war? We would destroy our civilization ourselves.

 

How can you wake up in the matrix if you don’t know you are in the matrix?

 

 

Are new ethical challenges emerging from the increased use of data analytics in political activity and decision-making?  It is destroying us and will leave a worse world.

Everything has financial incentives

It is hard to change companies because they need money, and it isn’t their fault, it’s the business model’s fault.

 

It became a “cool” thing to do and not a “good” thing to do

 

Humans are being treated as extractable resource, we are (and many other thigns are) “worth more dead than alive.” This is not sustainable, and we need more humane ways to do things.

   

Producing Knowledge in the Past

  • What tools did they use when they were going to school to learn and/or produce knowledge?
  • What were their experiences in school like, and how do they compare with your own?

In your blog post, share their responses and reflect on the implications for developing personal and shared knowledge.

 

 

“妈妈以前是怎么建立远程联系的?”

“那时候吗…要不然是写信,要不然是去电报局发电报…”

The way we produce and learn knowledge has significantly changed since my parents went to school and gained knowledge. In contrast to accessories such as phones, watched, and powerful computers, there were only books 40 years ago. These school textbooks only came from the government, and the only other ways to learn knowledge is from language through conversation or paper (in libraries). Sharing knowledge was more limited, and were restricted to written language forms such as mail or encoded texts such as telegrams. Their experiences in school were still quite similar, but textbooks were only available on paper and not digitally.

At the time, the overall population got most of their knowledge through newspapers and small black and white televisions, where everything was somewhat government filtered. For example, there was no legal way to learn knowledge outside China (or must be be filtered first), except for certain movies and some translated literature. We have the internet and a huge network of information at our fingertips, something that did not even exist until around 30 years ago. We as humans have produced more information since 1990 than ever before, and all of this data is arguably an extension to our knowledge.

The implications for the development of personal and shared knowledge are profound. Knowledge spreads faster, to more people, and is most importantly, accessible and free. Knowledge can be shared and spread by anyone from anywhere, which means that knowledge may be untrue and “faked,” and those who receive knowledge can restrict and “filter” any opposing controversy. This can create a vicious cycle and lead to dangerous ideas that can hurt society.

 

Is Ignorance Bliss? Debate Reflection

For our last ToK class last week, the class was split into two groups that either debated for or against the motion “ignorance is bliss.” The debate was quite heated and intense, but we were all respectful and followed the norms for a productive debate. The main arguments of the affirmative team were that “the more we know the more we suffer because the more we are involved with sad topics” and how “humans tend to think of the negatives rather than the positives.” For the negative team, we proposed that ignorance can create danger, ostracize those from society and that it can make us lose our vision of what makes us happy and ultimately stop our pursuit of happiness.

The affirmative team used “starving kids in Africa” as their point, which is quite reasonable in a sense but didn’t suggest a connection between being knowledgeable and sadness together. Other than that, the affirmative team also said something about “if we are ignorant, then we would also be ignorant about our sadness (not exactly what they said but more of a paraphrase).” They brought up that knowledge is a direct result of sadness, relating that to historical intellects that committed suicide such as Alan Turing, despite him committing suicide because of being openly gay rather than being an intellect.

The negative team said that ignorance can cause/create danger, such as when bikers and drivers are ignorant of traffic rules, people will run red lights and ultimately lead to fatal accidents. Being ignorant of physical dangers such as warning signs indicating dangerous animals, radiation, or construction zones may lead to fatal injury. The negative team also said that being ignorant will cause someone to be ostracized from society because of the lack of “politically/socially correct opinions” due to their ignorance of that topic. The opposition argued directly against this, saying that “those [ignorant] are more likely to be happy themselves due to their ignorant stance on their surroundings.” Yet, if ignorance is bliss, how do we know what to pursuit to be happy?

I believe that no side deserves to win this debate. The affirmative team gave weak points and evidence but had a well-structured debate and strong rebuttal questions. The negative team had strong points but failed to elaborate upon them and create a well-flowing argument between the speakers, and the answer to the opposition rebuttals wasn’t handled in a good manner. The crucial issue to this debate was the inconsistent definition of “ignorance.” Ignorance has different levels, it could be on a very basic level such as danger, or something more advanced to “knowing what you love.” The inconsistency of the definition led to certain holes and awkward moments during the debate which rendered certain rebuttals impossible to answer.

I personally fall on to the affirmative stance “ignorance is bliss.” I can’t forget the times when I was young and thought the world was so beautiful and I couldn’t stop smiling. Hard things hit me a year before adolescence, and I didn’t even realize it. My ignorance caused me to be numb, and I continued to do what I love. I played my games and with friends, I went out to recess running and laughing, still ignorant of the storm brewing up. My childhood was so bright and colorful when I was ignorant of my surroundings and saw what was put in front of me. Of course, I wasn’t ignorant of basic things such as safety, but I was ignorant of larger world issues. This is why the definition of “ignorance” in debates is so contested. As I grew older, I started to realize things weren’t as bright as I saw them before: the world is so dark and ugly. Why do many say a person’s “childhood is precious?” That is because that is the only time in life where we are ignorant to the point where we can’t function as a person in society at all. Despite being that way, those are the happiest times and one will never forget it.

As a human in society, we have certain responsibilities of acquiring knowledge. Governments worldwide noticed and are addressing these issues such as the nine-year compulsory education in China and free public schools present in almost all countries. There are some things where society can’t afford to be ignorant of: politics, language, immediate surroundings, and perhaps society itself.

 

Are some ways of knowing more likely than others to lead to truth?

Are some ways of knowing more likely than others to lead to truth?

Summative response

Word count: 494

Yes, there are certain ways of knowing (WoK) that are more likely than others to lead to truth. The definition of “ways of knowing” are all the methods of knowledge become apparent to us. There are eight WoK, which includes sense perception, reasoning, emotion, language, imagination, memory, faith, and intuition. The correspondence theory of truth is the most modern and widely agreed-upon definition of “truth,” but is still contested. The theory states that things must be in accordance with facts and reality for something to be true.

All things are not created equal, and these ways of knowing are not equal either. For example, sense perception plays a much larger role in obtaining knowledge–and in turn, truth–compared to faith and religion. A classic real-life example of faith is that a “God(dess) is always watching you.” For most faiths, they claim that this is true. But if we use our sense perception, it is quite easy to tell that a “God(dess) isn’t watching you” because “you don’t see God(dess).”

As we interact with our surroundings through sight, hearing, smelling, and much more, it is natural that sense perception is more likely to lead to the truth. Sense perception itself is the building block for all communication mediums except for thought-related WoK; not only that but sense perception is present in most land animals. As sense perception is hardwired into our brains and is exhibited in all mammals, sense perception takes the place of the highest importance: it is more likely to lead to truth. Compared to faith, faith itself is not based on any sort of evidence or observable real-world phenomena, which may even hinder the process of finding the truth.

One may argue that all ways of knowing are equally as important. They argue that all of those ways of knowing are of equal importance because to find the truth, we cannot just use one WoK but rather many of them in combination. The counterargument states that there is no practical difference as they only work together to achieve the purpose of revealing the truth. The statement of the intricate interconnectedness of these ways of knowing is correct, but they still have varying degrees of likeliness to lead to truth. If all ways of knowing are equal, that means that the use of unearthly faiths and beliefs is equally likely to lead to the truth than the formal exchange of language and sense. By stating the ways of knowing are equal, the counterargument admits that claims using spiritual convictions and physical perception are on the same level, and both are equally likely to lead to truth.

In conclusion, there is a definitive answer: Yes, there are certain ways of knowing that are more likely to lead to truth. There are certain ways of knowing that are more commonly used and make use of logical, factual, and intuitive aspects of information to formulate truth than those that are not universal and lack a scientific basis.

What do you know for sure, and how do you know it? (ToK Pre-assessment)

What do you know for sure, and how do you know it?

There are many things that we know for sure: our names, the existing environment, the touch sensory stimulation of an apple, the taste of water, etc. The material things we observe and interact every day, we are sure that it exists, and we know it. We know it only because we are regularly exposed to it, and it has integrated into our lives. What about known facts that we did not directly observe but rather heard from other sources? For example, the COVID-19 virus and the death of Chadwick Boseman, we have do not have concrete evidence that it actually exists, because 1), normal people without equipment cannot see something that small with our eyes, and 2), we cannot see something outside our physical proximity. We know facts that we cannot observe, but how? Now, a social factor is at play of how we obtain knowledge. The different functioning parts of society provide “reliable” information for everyone else, such as molecular biology specialists studying COVID-19. Media outlets provide “reliable” information to everyone else, and that information become common knowledge. There is a reason why I say “reliable” and not reliable, because information and knowledge could perhaps be distorted, morphed, and mangled to something it was not. However, we use our common sense to identify what is reliable and what is not, and what is reliable goes into “what we know for sure.” We only know it because we directly see it, or hear it from social networks/interactions.

Scene Work – Almost, Maine

Scene: “Where It Went”

 

Q#1: What is the STASIS of the world of the characters in your scene right before the scene starts?

Phil and Marci are going out ice skating on Echo Pond in Almost, Maine. The setting is a cold winter night in Almost, they just finished ice skating and are changing back into their usual footwear.

Q#2: What is the relationship between the two characters in the scene? Who are they to each other?

Phil and Marci are husband and wife, indicated when Phil stated that they were working for “the kids.” Their relationship is unstable and deteriorating as their distance increases because Phil doesn’t pay attention anymore, and they “aren’t having fun anymore.” Another reason is how Marci is always lying and concealing her feelings, which creates a vicious cycle.

Q#3: What happens first – what is the first event? And then what happens next, then next, then next, then next?

After both finish skating, they put on their normal shoewear. However, they started to argue whether Marci was mad or not because Phil doesn’t “pay attention.” Marci couldn’t find her other shoe which made her a little ticked off than usual. A meteorite started burning in the sky, which prompted Marci to make a wish (presumably to find her shoes) and kept going to find her shoes. Phil makes a wish on a bright object on a sky (presumably for things to be better), but it was a planet instead, which made Marci complain about how he doesn’t pay attention. They argue until they both attack each other’s weaknesses, they both confess to having a “rotten time.” Afterward, Marci’s shoe dropped from the sky. She puts on her shoes and leaves, leaving Phil behind.

Q#4: What does your character WANT from the other character or this situation?

Phil wants Marci to become more transparent and not lie to Marci, while Marci wants Phil to be more “present” and pay attention to things around him. In this scenario, Phil’s dialogue suggests he wants Marci to confess her real feelings. On the other hand, Marci wants Phil to understand that he doesn’t pay attention by using herself and Saturn as examples. Marci also wants to find her shoe since her shoe was gone.

Q#5: What’s getting in their way? What is the OBSTACLE? – do this for each character

Marci’s discontent for Phil (presence and attention) is the obstacle to the relationship and vice versa (truthfulness and transparency). Their personality, way of communication and interactions are the obstacle to solving the problems. The way they express themselves agitates the other and both become discontent and unhappy.

Q#6: What tactics do they use to get what they want? Do they get what they want? Why don’t they get what they want? What do they get instead?

Both characters being fed up with the lack of conversational progress decides to wish upon a shooting star (or Saturn by accident) to get what they want. Marci wants her shoe while Phil most likely wants the relationship to normalize. Marci (literally) gets what she wants by wishing upon a shooting star, but Phil doesn’t get what he wants when he wished on a planet.

Q#7: What is the STASIS of the world for the characters at the end of the scene?

Marci leaves in her car, going somewhere away from Phil. Phil sits down and looks upon the sky figuring what happened, perhaps realizing the end of their relationship.

Q#8: What do you think this scene is about? What do you think is the BIG IDEA of this scene?

I think that this scene is about being attentive, how love isn’t eternal, and the unpredictability of wishes. Love isn’t eternal, because feelings may shift, described by Marci as “I don’t have fun with you anymore.” There is also the theme of being attentive. If the two characters paid more attention to their weaknesses, they could’ve avoided this “tragedy” and figured a solution. The fantasy elements in this story are the wishes. A wish from Marci ends up becoming true and doesn’t come true for Phil. It reminds us that making wishes shouldn’t be the way to guarantee certain things, but rather just make wishes for personal comfort and for fun.

Responding to a Play Text: Almost Maine by John Cariana

Before Reading

What information can you get about the play before you even start reading it?

You can understand the background of the play and who created it, you can understand the setting and character of the play. The author explains parts of the play and what it is and what it is not, and who are the characters. The scenes are put in a table of contents to easily navigate to different scenes and get a picture of what the play should include. Interestingly, this play has notations to indicate when to speak, similar to how Shakespearean plays have annotations to translate.

What can you tell about the SETTING of the play?

The play takes place in Almost, Maine, a northern town in Maine. It is very ordinary with regular people and incorporates the winter setting of Maine. The city of Almost has excessive snow and cold temperatures all day, and the geographical position allows the people to observe aurora borealis.

What information does the playwright want you to have about the play before you start reading?

As stated before, this play has overlapping dialogue. There is specific notation into reading this play, and the author emphasizes the importance of reading stage directions to understand the play. In addition, the playwright wants the reader to understand the setting, scene/acts, characters (names, sometimes personalities), et cetera.

Why is this important before you start reading?

If a reader cannot accurately grasp the fundamentals of the play, they may dive in and become confused. The literary features of a play include the lack of scenery description during the play itself, so there needs to be an understanding of the setting before reading. It is very unlikely that a character would describe the setting/location, as that is basically breaking the fourth wall.  The notations are necessary to better understand the plays and not get confused while reading.

Prologue

The prologue of Almost, Maine comprises of two characters, Ginette and Pete. They were sitting on a bench far from each other, gazing at the stars. Ginette “finally” confesses to Pete, and awkwardly, Pete reciprocates. After that, Ginette moves closer but is seemingly “rejected” by Pete when he says “…the farthest away you can be from someone” (Cariani 14). This prompts a negative reaction and she leaves with Pete confused on the bench.

Her Heart

Who are the characters in “Her Heart”? What do we know about them by reading the scene?

The personality and appeared persona are described by the character’s dialogue and their reactions towards given dialogue. The description of a character like this is known as a characterization through dialogue, actions, and character reactions. Glory is seen as a pure, gullible, and sentimental woman as seen by her dialogue and actions. She describes her experiences in a way that a normal human wouldn’t. East seems very ordinary. but shows qualities of impatience.

What happens in this scene?

Glory comes to East’s yard to gaze at the northern lights to say goodbye to her passed husband. She brings her “heart” with her as she cannot let go of it. East is confused and suddenly kisses her after a brief conversation. Glory’s history unravels and she finally lets go of her past and embraces her new future as East fixes her “heart.”

What is the conflict, change, disagreement, or realization?

The conflict is Glory not being able to move on from her past, and East can be seen as an aid to the process. The disagreement between Glory and East happens because of the internal conflict within Glory. East changes her mind to let go and Glory realizes she cannot be stuck by her old past.

What “idea” or “theme” or “concept” does the playwright want us to discover in this scene?

The theme of the scene is love and the ability for things to change in a heartbeat as explained as the playwright before. The idea of love conveys through their feelings for each other, and the materialization of love into the form of a heart (presumably a human heart) exaggerates the theme of love. The heart comes from popular belief and the literal approach of Cariana presents a sense of humor, fantasy, and realism at the same time. When Glory explains her heart shattered, it alludes to the theme of “love can change at an instant” and it works for the same when her heart gets (assumingly) repaired.

Sad and Glad

Who are the characters in each scene? What do we know about them by reading the scene?

By reading the scene, each character line indicates a character speaking, in “Sad and Glad,” it is Jimmy, Sandrine, and Villian. Jimmy is a person who dwells on the past, is loyal to his partner, and is pure. He can’t move forward from his past life. His interactions with Sandrine expresses his feelings and loyalty towards Sandrine, while Sandrine is quite the opposite. She moved on quickly and got engaged. Even though the Sandrine didn’t state her reason, she could be categorized as “disloyal” to her partner. Villian is a supporting character used to convey the theme. Villian appears to be a hard-working woman at the Moose Paddy.

What is the world of the characters before the scene begins? What happens in this scene? What is the world of the characters when the scene ends?

Jimmy seems to be in a depressed mood while Sandrine is about to get married by the time the scene starts. The story provides backstory to indicate that Jimmy and Sandrine used to be in a relationship, but Sandrine left him. A short summary of the scene would be the awkward reunion of the broken couples, with constant repeated dialogue to exaggerate the atmosphere. Sandrine sees a tattoo on Jimmy spelled “Villian” instead of “Villain.” At Sandrine’s departure, the waitress reveals her name to be Villian, matching the tattoo on Jimmy’s arm.

What is the conflict, change, disagreement, or realization?

The conflict is between the feelings of Jimmy and Sandrine. Jimmy still has feelings for Sandrine while Sandrine has completely moved on. Their conflicting feelings create awkwardness and by the time Sandrine leaves and Jimmy meets Villian, Jimmy realizes that he can finally move on from Sandrine with the aid of the tattoo.

What “idea” or “theme” or “concept” does the playwright want us to discover in this scene?

The idea that people shouldn’t look back at the dark past but rather look forward. The state Jimmy was in was a direct result of him looking into the past and not moving on. His state is contrasted by Sandrine’s, she appears happy and normal because she let go of the past. With the presence of Villian and “Villian” as a tool, the theme was conveyed when Jimmy looks forward to Villian.

This Hurts

Who are the characters in each scene? What do we know about them by reading the scene?

The scene of “This Hurts” contains two characters, Steve and Marvalyn. Steve is a person that supposedly has congenital analgesia, which is a medical condition that makes the person unable to feel pain at birth. Steve cannot feel pain, which is dangerous, so he was protected and cradled by his brother, which makes him pure and appears simple-minded. Marvalyn is a normal person, very caring since she helped Steve after accidentally knocking him with the ironing board.

What is the world of the characters before the scene begins? What happens in this scene? What is the world of the characters when the scene ends?

Marvalyn has a boyfriend, who now lives in this area because their house collapsed due to the snow. Steve has congenital analgesia and is sitting on a bench without reason. Marvalyn accidentally knocks Steve with the ironing board and his experience with analgesia unfolds. He explains that his brother taught him that “love” is on the list of “things to hurt you,” but Marvalyn denies that claim. Marvalyn then kisses him, then Steve was able to feel pain after another accident. After that, they both sat there in awkwardness.

What is the conflict, change, disagreement, or realization?

The conflict was between Steve’s brother’s teachings and Marvalyn’s morals. His brother thinks that it is love causes pain, but Marvalyn disagrees with that. The change is Steve moving out of his brother’s teachings when he realized love doesn’t hurt, and he restored his sense of pain.

What “idea” or “theme” or “concept” does the playwright want us to discover in this scene?

The playwright wants the reader to understand that people should attempt things at least once in their lives. The feelings of “love” supported the theme. Love depends for each person, it may be painful or not. However, a person would only know that if they were to attempt “loving” first, then they can decide.

Getting it Back

Who are the characters in “Getting is Back”? What do we know about them by reading the scene?

This scene consists of two characters: Gayle and Lendall. Lendall is a man who loves Gayle very much and that is all that we know about Lendall. Perhaps he is also a patient person as he waited eleven years to propose to Gayle. Gayle appears to be a woman who loves Lendall very much, but a misunderstanding leads Gayle to think of ending the relationship.

What is the “Stasis” or the world of the play for the characters before the scene starts? what is the “Intrusion” the thing that changes their stasis?

Gayle and Lendall were dating each other for a very long time, and a misunderstanding lead the relationship to deteriorate on one-side. The passive rejection of getting married or not was the intrusion that changed their stasis.

What is the conflict, change, disagreement, or realization?

The conflict is between Lendall’s feelings and Gayle’s feelings. Lendall still loves Gayle and wants to become married but Gayle doesn’t want to marry after being supposedly turned down. When Gayle returned her “love,” she requested to return her “love” but only to realize it was a ring inside.

What “idea” or “theme” or “concept” does the playwright want us to discover in this scene?

Cariana wants us to understand that objects are worth more than their price tag, as the object can represent feelings and emotions. “Getting it Back” uses love as an example as a feeling and the ring as an object to express the idea. It also reminds people to cherish their “physical” possessions and to treat it with care, such as the “love” that people receive demonstrated in the story.

They Fell

Who are the characters in “They Fell”? What do we know about them by reading the scene?

The characters in this scene consist of Randy and Chad, two guys who are “hanging out.” Randy and Chad both share similar experiences and traits, they are both quite “manly” in a sense, they are each other’s best friend, and they just broke up.

What is the “Stasis” or the world of the play for the characters before the scene starts? what is the “Intrusion” the thing that changes their stasis?

Randy and Chad had their respective partners before the intrusion. Both guys were doing well in their relationship but an unexpected turn of events led to the intrusion, where they both become single again.

What is the conflict, change, disagreement, or realization?

The conflict is between the feelings of Randy and Chad and societal morals. Chad demonstrated the conflict perfectly by being reluctant to express his feelings, clearly because it is a homosexual relationship between two males. In 2004, Maine finally allowed same-sex relationships, but not same-sex marriages yet. At the time of writing, it was probably before this change. The negative societal values due to Christianity looked down upon same-sex couples. Randy being the passive character, he refuses and denies his feelings, but in the end, he realizes his love is more important than what society says.

What “idea” or “theme” or “concept” does the playwright want us to discover in this scene?

The theme of the scene is that “love isn’t restricted.” You can love anything or anyone, perhaps not even a physical object. Just because society frowns upon the love between certain people and/or people+objects, it doesn’t mean that you can’t love. The grim reminder of forbidden love through “They Fell” gives assurance to those suffering and advocates other types of love (other than heterosexual).

February 25 Class Reflection

  • What did you do for this class session?

I worked on an improvisation prompt and compared a before and after with a relaxation warmup in-between. The improvisation prompt required me to be a watchmaker who didn’t know how to fix a rare watch they have never encountered before. I listened to relaxation music as provided, and attempted the prompt again.

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

I tried my best for the first attempt, and I relaxed with the video. During the second attempt, I was more confident with my movements, actions, and facial expressions. I was given time to think and revise what I have done. I was more steady and consistent with my acting after the relaxation.

  • What is something that you learned about theatre that is NEW to you?

The new experience I had in acting after relaxation was completely new to me. Though I know that relaxation can contribute to better acting, I never did understand it. Now I finally did, and I understand the importance of relaxation.

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

This learning experience reinforces the fact of how hard theater is. To pull off a good act, one must master many aspects of self-expression and go through countless repetitions of practice and that includes the process of preparation.

 

 

Stanislavsky’s 7 Questions

1. Who am I?

Start with the basics and then fill in the gaps with your imagination. Pick apart the script to find out what type of person your character is; what they look like, what they believe, how others describe them and so on. Think about your character’s past and the significant events/people that influenced them and made them who they are in the script.

Though there the monologue doesn’t provide much information on the character so most of it is up to interpretation. I think that they look like they are somewhat fed up with their current situation and are unable to express themselves properly. The person kept their feelings bottled up for too long and then broke his calm and collected presentation. He would be a person to never say “idiot” and to maintain formality at all times. He believes that knowledge and deep-thinking (philosophy) is what is important, and whoever does things that go against him he gets triggered. His indirect involvement in a certain incident left scars by people who didn’t know what they were saying, which made him very frustrated in those who make superficial and meaningless comments.

2. Where am I?

The script will usually tell you where you are but the important thing for an actor is to consider how the character feels about the place they are in. Characters act differently in public than they do in private. People move differently when they are cold vs. when they are too hot. The space your character occupies can determine how they behave during a scene.

The character is talking to someone else in a private meeting. They are sitting at the dinner table at home when the other person started babbling about useless things. The character is sitting there listening lightheartedly, losing attention after he realized the subject.

3. What time is it?

Year, season, month, day, and time of day should all be described. Then, think about how the specific time of the play changes the character’s action. If it’s set in Victorian England, voice and proper etiquette will be different than San Francisco in the 1960s.

It should be within the past few years. The weather is very fair and the sun has set. The date doesn’t matter and the month is April. The time when the character starts speaking should be when the other finishes his part.

4. What do I want?

This is a character’s primary motivation for everything they do in a scene. All actions should be executed with the goal of getting what you want from the other characters in the scene. This is also called a character’s objective.

He wants to convey his trapped feelings for years, but after he realized he lost his level-minded attitude he quickly ends the conversation. He wants to tell his friend what he has been feeling but ultimately he couldn’t say it.

5. Why do I want it?

There must be a driving force behind your objectives on stage that is your justification. We all have reasons for doing what we do and characters are no different. Give your character a convincing reason for acting and you automatically generate high stakes which lead to tension.

6. How will I get what I want?

Use your dialogue, movements, and gestures to try to influence the other characters to give you what you want i.e., accomplish your objective. This is also called a character’s tactic. If one tactic fails, try a new one and see if that works.

I want to exaggerate my body movements to show that I am trying to let go of emotion, my expression is going to be “fed up.” At the last sentence, I want to suddenly change from an expressive to submissive stance, to show that I have overdone myself. My voice will first be loud, in the end, I will be very quiet and will sit back down quickly.

7. What must I overcome to get what I want?

There is always something stopping you from achieving your objective. If there wasn’t an obstacle, then there would be no “drama” Usually, there is someone or something in the outside world impeding a character’s advancement and also some internal conflict with which they struggle. Find what it/they are and fight against them with the scene. This is also called a character’s obstacle.

To the character, the obstacle is himself. He can’t get over himself and feels trapped. Whenever he tries to speak he can’t speak. He finally found the way to speak yet he couldn’t manage to keep going. His frustration can be seen from the outside.

 

Do the answers work? Do you need to change anything in your answer? Do the answers make sense with the words you are delivering?

Yes, it helped me a lot when I read the monologue out again. I felt like I had a “goal” to work towards instead of improvising. Not improvising and having a vision means that my acting skills went up by a notch. The answer makes sense with the words I was delivering. If I didn’t define the objectives, settings, and the character, my monologue could’ve been very unpersuasive and fake.