Five of us… the dog days of summer…. small classes rock.
Will the head of HR with an odd sense of humor. Lauren once again as the killer in the cab. Aaron finding her dead doggie. Andrei popping in for a quick conversation and I’m working on the issues he raised.
Aaron…. We concentrated on the emotional moment. What really grew from the first week was her presence and energy before that revelation. It was another case of letting Ms Iowa come into your work. Once you set her up as pleasant and playful and kind…. we liked her and cared more when she discovered the horror. You worked on Peggy’s emotional exercise…. building an emotional muscle memory. Making your/her emotions more available and easier to get to, And as you said…. it’s concentration. The willingness to exclude the outside world and to focus on emotional keys… usually sensorial…. at least that’s the Strasberg philosophy. You concentrate on the emotional keys and then use the impulses you get from the scene to unleash those emotions. At least that’s how I understand it. You can front load emotions and start a scene at a high level or you can fill your emotional reservoir to the brim and hide it and then let the scene provide the impulse that unleashes the emotions. BLA BLA BLA…. but as you said it’s something you can work on and build your concentration and simply get better at accessing your emotions.
Will…. You brought a nice disturbing essence to this guy. He seemed likable and normal but the revelation let us see the dark side that we could only sense. Then you made a great adjustment. We asked for a big change(exploring) and you were able to integrate the idea and organically bring a totally different tone and resolution to the scene. We talked about your asking for time to integrate the adjustment. That was huge ! When you get a big adjustment like that…. take a moment and work it through in your mind so you can see the path…. and then just play. That’s great process and looks so professional. Your prep is now giving you a much increased ability to play. You are building in flexibility and play and the result of that kind of prep is that ability to change. It means you’ve given up the idea of doing it right and are letting the life in the scene take you.
Lauren…. Most important is that you didn’t give up. You were frustrated and discouraged and it got in the way, clogged your creative channels…. but because you kept at it you broke thru the problem. Really the resolution was….. that you let yourself go and played. It’s a cliche that when your resistance is at high levels… you should not quit… but rather play and do off-the-wall stuff…. “When you hit a wall… turn left.” Just don;t keep banging your head. ‘Do something different…. PLAY. Let’s think about the process here. Basically we worked outside in which trapped you into ideas… “I have to hold the gun like this, her tone of voice is this, I have to be still.” All these ideas excluded your own behavior. They trapped you and painted you into a corner. When you finally let more of you into the image/character she came alive. We talked about the danger of building a character based on something we’ve seen in a film. This was a fine example of taking that image and weaving yourself into the work and ending up with a believable character that was fun to watch. Interesting that one of the key elements was liking the other character. Somehow that just made her more real for us. You can let her go now. Why don[t you find another more serious scene for next week and then we’ll go back to something more comedic perhaps.
Tonight was a bit of a struggle. What I saw was actors working hard on their craft….. and solving the problems with play. There’s a big lesson here for all of us.
Thanks for all your work.