Patrick’s Acting Class Notes: 19th Feb 2013

Small class…. rainy and wet and everyone just stayed home by the fire. Elizabeth auditing. Tyler the druggie. Aaron as the cop’s wife. Edythe again as the Bitch or was she a Diva?

Edythe…

So we explored the world of “the bitch” again…. And it seems there is a difference between a diva and a bitch. Intention is perhaps the fulcrum here. If she’s just full of herself and self importance and bigger than life…. she’s a diva. She might even be likable. However….. A bitch…. is a bitch…. and it’s intentional. Though it seems rudimentary…. maybe there’s an element of mean too. Diva’s aren’t always mean? Bitches are? Last night…. she was on of those characters we love to hate. There was nothing redeeming about her and her intention was to be a mean scary bitch. If we look at the NPR gal…. she’s not behaving badly. She’s just being self centered and self important. Here tonight we also found a difference in how we perceived her class…. when you were “contained”(less expressive vocally)…. she appeared as a CEO. A woman who had some self control… a sense of privacy. She was no less mean, no less easy to hate…. but she contained it in a CEO facade. Maybe she simply had some class and the bitch didn’t. When you ‘let her rip’ we could see her street side. So this exploration finds two character types here…. and a way to look at theses kinds of characters and approach them differently. DIVA is not the same as BITCH. We talked about size…. the style of a show will usually determine size/style. But you must trust your talent and not work too carefully. If you have the impulse to create a bigger character…. go for it. Trust your instincts. I think what you see as…. “you’re being too big”….. is for me just a point in your process. As you explore…. being bigger is appropriate for a certain stage. As you discover character and circumstance we often find other elements that supersede size and allow for more specific character to emerge. Do you have a theatrical bent in you talent? Yes. And that is perfect for either a diva or a B-word. This would be a nice showcase or reel scene for you in your search for a new agent.

Aaron…

This is a challenging emotional scene. We did multiple takes emphasizing different elements…. her anger, loneliness, love, patience, frustration…. a veritable stew of emotions and issues…. but no whining! This kind of scene is emotional jazz. The words(the melody)are always the same but every take should be different. Great jazz musicians will tell you the secret is listening. A good director would whisper adjustments to each actor every take and make you listen and adjust…. as you did with Campbell’s anger. You had to react because he made such a strong choice. On a more subtle and focused approach…. as each line is heard…. as you see the expressions on his face… as a wave of emotion sweeps over…as you hear too oft repeated phrases from previous arguments… as you get impulses from random thoughts or hear words coming out of your own mouth…..your reactions change the emotional value of the phrases. Last night you made adjustments quite well and discovered different beats and tones. The challenge here…… is to throw yourself into the stew…. let the waves of emotion crash over you… and just listen and react to each new beat. This is so easy to say and so hard to do. And as to whining… you might even indulge that beast for a moment and then hear yourself and recoil that “you’re becoming a whining wife.” The acting conundrum here is…. to be in control of this material…. you have to be out of control. There’s so much going on and so much at stake that you don’t know what to say or how to say it or any idea of how it’s going to come out of your mouth. Your talent and work will let you play along this border of structured chaos. This is difficult work…. and your effort is peeling back the emotional layers. They’ll likely want just a simple argument between a cop and his whining wife… and that’s just too easy. But give it to them if that’s what they want… and all this effort and discovery will still be there. Let me know how it goes in the audition.

Tyler…

Either a stoner or a speed freak…. both your approaches were well played. And you’re right….. this character can go any number of ways….. but our exploration took him darker and darker. You tongue tripped when seeing the “homeless lady with shopping cart.” I think what you were doing is going to the line first….. rather than first looking and seeing her and creating the impulse to speak. We hit that same bump with the final decision to sell him the drug. You went to the line and blew through the moment of deciding. So that’s something you need to watch…. you have to create thoughts and impulses first and then the dialogue. What was so nice about this work was…. we could see you thinking…. taking time to see things. He seemed to be living in that park and reacting to the circumstances of the scene. You were engaged in the life…. so those lesser moments where you went to the line stood out. I’m quibbling about small moments….. but they’re the tip of an ice berg. You were well prepared so lines were down cold…. but at this point in your process…. you’d built in rhythms as you learned the lines. It’s almost impossible to pound lines and not build in rhythms. SO…. be careful of rhythms…. and use the lines…,you have to create impulse first before you speak. This is a stretch for you cause he’s a bad dude…. BUT you still managed to make him likable…. which is the core of your talent. It will be interesting to see if you can create a truly unlikable guy in some future scene. You’re getting into shape quickly and you can obviously play a guy on drugs. One of the benefits of a drug adjustment is that it makes you relaxed cause you’re so occupied by this altered state. This was perhaps your best work.