Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rehearsal #6: Exit Pursued by a Bear


Last night’s rehearsal was all about improv! We’ve spent a lot of time working on singing and dancing, and it was finally time to focus on some scene work.

We warmed up by playing “Bitty Bitty Hop”, which is similar to “Bippity Bippity Bop” only you have to physically hop before the person in the middle says “hop”. The game then proceeds as usual.

Then we split up into groups of three and did a “coloring” exercise. For the first iteration, one person flipped through an imaginary Town Annual (like a town yearbook) while the other people asked detailed questions about the items discovered in the book. Then who was being asked the questions rotated and the imaginary record became a time capsule and then an actual high school yearbook for the final iteration.

Next, we split up into pairs and talked about our improv goals for the show, what we’re working on, etc. I want to play more characters that aren’t in control of their situations. My characters tend to have an answer for everything, and I’d like to explore playing some that get in trouble and don’t know how to get out of it. I’d also like to improve my space object work and push the show into new and interesting locations. Of course there are other things too, but those are the big ones.

After that we did some quick protagonist work. We just had 3 or 4 people start a scene and everyone watching raised their hand once they thought they knew who the scene was about. Once most people had raised their hand the scene was stopped and we found out if we all agreed. Generally we did. In the past we’ve spent entire rehearsals on protagonist work, but everyone seemed to have a handle on what made someone the protagonist (being likable, the most normal, effected by what was happening, set apart from the other characters somehow, etc).

Then, we moved into some large group scenes. Six people would go up to perform (we’re planning casts of six people every night) and do two scenes. One a public scene with lots of people and then a second private scene between just two. Somehow we naturally fell into doing these two scenes seamlessly without any sort of blackout or hard ending between the scenes. We’d have a group scene and then eventually the side characters would leave two people alone for the private scene. It felt very “play like" as if the actors had scripted entrances and exits.

We capped things off by doing two 15 minute long forms, figuring in an actual show we’ll only have time for about 15 minutes of plot anyway. The first one involved a pair of identical twin teenagers struggling to date and find their own identities. The second involved a group of co-workers. The twin story reminded us all that, like in Shakespeare, even if the actors playing the twins look nothing alike, the other characters can find them so identical that they can’t tell them apart. The co-worker story reminded us that a workplace can be an even smaller small town within a small town.

We finished off by splitting up into groups once more to discus the main takeaways from rehearsal. I think one of the biggest was “listen, listen, listen”. We had a lot of missing offers, multiple names, confusing family relationships, etc. Name people. Repeat names. Be obvious about the environments you’re creating. Things of that nature.

We also learned that Bryce can wrestle a bear.

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