Friday, January 29, 2010

Rehearsal #2: Walk Like a Man

We started off our second rehearsal with the photoshoot for the program and flyer. Normally this might not happen so soon, but considering we open three weeks from yesterday, we needed to get it done.

Then we moved into space-object work, which somehow lead us into a discussion about playing cross-gender characters and the difficulties therein. We spent a lot of time walking around trying to look like men or women. Or more specifically, attractive men & women and then unattractive men & women.

The primary difference between the way the sexes walk is how we counter balance. Men, who generally are wider on top and have a higher center of gravity, counter balance with their shoulders. Women, who have lower centers of gravity, counter balance with their hips. A woman's arms swing differently too, as their breasts are in the way.

Attractive men tend to stand up straighter, throw their shoulders back a little, raise their elbows slightly as if they had muscular arms, and lead with their abdomen as if they had a six-pack. The also walk with a little bit a jaunt or swagger.

Attractive women do the same thing, essentially, only they tend to highlight their chest or butt depending on which part they feel looks better.

Unattractive people are more slouchy. They protect themselves by covering up their front sections and tend to walk flat-footed, landing on the middle of their feet. They never look comfortable, even when they're trying to look casual.

Of course those are sweeping generalities and intended to inform the physicality of the characters you're playing, but useful nonetheless.

We also learned that Clay, Christian, and I have all dated at various times in our lives a twin.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rehearsal #1: We're already behind

We had our first rehearsal for our first show of 2010. It’s official: we’re kicking off our 8th season with Un-Scripted: unscripted!

This will be the third year in a row we’ve done this show, each time with a different director. I was at the helm of the previous iteration. I confess it was not a show that played to my strong suits as a director. I’m glad Christian’s in charge this year (and hopefully I’ll come up with a show that fits me better to direct in 2011).

It’s going to be a small cast version of the show. I believe we had 5 people per show last year. This year we will have 4, which will make for a hectic, high energy, no time to stop and think show that should be very fun and challenging to perform. The total ensemble for the show is 8 people large, 4 of whom are regular Un-Scripted members (me, Christian, Mandy, and Clay) and 4 non-members. We have one returning player (Merrill) and three first-timers (Lynn, David, and Melissa), making for a nicely gender balanced cast.

We spent a lot of time last night getting to know each other, which is extremely important for such an ensemble based show. We need to know each other well and know how to make each other happy by the time the show roles around. We need to learn to really play together and have fun.

We worked a lot on the “everything warm-up” which is an extension of Jeff England’s Duke’s of Hazard warm-up that just devolves into playing every circle warm-up game all at once. Then we moved into doing genre based scenes without setting up the genre first. After all, this show is all about starting scenes without explaining them.

I’m not sure what we’ll work on tonight. That’s right: we have rehearsal again tonight. Why? Because the show opens in 3 weeks! We had a bit of a space kurfuggal, so this run which was originally supposed to open in March and run through April is now opening in February and running through March. And we’re not in our usual space at the SF Playhouse. Instead we’ll be returning to Off-Market where we once performed Love at First Sight (only we’ll be in the larger theater across the hall).

So fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a fast ride!