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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What I learned on summer vacation...

So, about six million years ago I promised that I would write a post about what I took away from the Keith Johnstone workshop that I attend at the end of August. I just finished typing up my notes and I thought I would just pull out some of the quotes from my notes that help to sum up his work for me. Here it goes:

Don't try to be good! If you try to be perfect, or even good, you will be fearful, worried about getting it “right” and therefore uninteresting (by making boring, safe choices)

An audience wants to see people fail and then still be happy (something that never happens in real life)!

Why do people watch car racing, or professional gymnastics? Would as many people watch them if there were never accidents and no one ever fell off the beam?

Don’t let things get too safe- If you can play a game perfectly, there’s no reason to play it.

He gave a great example of his exercise as a tight rope routine… he goes away for a few months and when he comes back the people who took over have painted a line on the ground and tell him “But Keith, it’s even better! We never fall!”

Slow down. Let yourself think. Silence is okay.
Go faster. Trust yourself. Fast enough something spontaneous happens (yes... life is full of contradictions).

Don't set out to make yourself look good. Set out to please your partners... if everyone is trying to please one another you are bound to have a good time, and look good in the process.

In good plays, someone is altered. In good improv, you have to be willing to be altered (something we all naturally resist).

Nothing we do means nothing (conversely of course, everything means something).

With actors it is necessary to make conscious what is naturally automatic/unconscious. We naturally adjust and change in life; we must do it on stage.

Circle of Probability: don’t go outside of expectations of audience (a frog with a Bible doesn’t want to learn Chinese, he wants something to do with religion)

We’ve been taught that the predictable isn’t interesting and therefore we try to subvert it but the obvious is what the audience wants (not the original).

Taking risk is essential in improv (as it is in life!).
You can’t learn without failing… fail cheerfully!

Sometimes you're more interesting when you do nothing.

What makes an audience laugh is not the line, but always the reaction to the line. Same holds true for what makes an audience cry.

The greatest actors are surprised (convince yourself the opposite is going to happen… if in the script she is going to accept your proposal, convince yourself beforehand that she is going to say no).

“You’re best just happens.” “Trying harder is like trying to be more intelligent.”

Stage fright comes from thinking you’re inadequate… and working harder makes it worse.

And perhaps my favorite quote from the whole week: “Learning German is like trying to strike a match on soap.”

Friday, September 19, 2008

It's Friday again...

And I still have no time to write. I hope that after this weekend's foray up to Denver for the workshop (and a little bit of sightseeing perhaps) that I'll be able to settle in... of course I've been hoping that now since I got back from Maine.

If we do some fun things in Denver I'll try and include pictures here sometime next week. I promise... my blog will come back some day. I just don't know when yet!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Can you believe it's Friday?

Where in the world has my week gone?? So much for updating in the middle of the week, hunh?

This week was peppered with good and bad. At the end of last week our Ford Taurus quit running... luckily it was only a fuel pump (which was still a $400 fix but not a "we should just buy a new car" fix). This week has been spent prepping for classes and watching movies to show in Costume Design (I highly recommend the remake of "Lion in Winter" with Patrick Stewart and Glen Close... quite enjoyable). This weekend will be spent working on my retention folder, which is due Monday. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, hunh?

And besides school little is happening around here. Reid and I spent most of last weekend working outside in our yard. I have started weeding the area that I want to put a garden in next spring and am very excited about possibly being able to grow stuff. Next weekend we are going to Denver so that I can present at a workshop (and so that Reid can get out of the Valley... something he hasn't done since his trip out east in May!). And that is luckily it for us... pretty boring people!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Long Week

It's been an incredibly long week... and to top it all off, blogger just ate the little post I just wrote. So... hopefully by midweek next week I will have dug myself out of my pile of work and will post again. Until then, sorry...