Sunday, May 31, 2009

Respect For Acting - Continued

Getting back into the rhythm of studies for working theatrically - it looks like I'm not going to be able to be in a show this summer (that's another heartache entirely), so I'm doing what I can to hone what skills I've got. Respect For Acting is as good a place to start as any.

Excerpts (Chapter 1, Concepts):

"For a would-be actor, the prerequisite is talent. You can only hope to God you've got it."

Of course a young actor is going to need more than that, but talent is utterly invaluable. My efforts in learning about the craft prove that a person needs far more than a smattering of talent to be an actor. Seeing professionals is that reality check I like to have every so often.

"To rebel or revolt against the status quo is in the very nature of an artist."

I think that one speaks for itself.

"By the very nature of our profession we seem to develop slothful rather than disciplined habits. A great dancer to his last days cannot - and will not - perform without hours of daily practice. The pianist Artur Rubinstein and the violinist Isaac Stern cannot - and will not - play a concert without daily practice. While an actor may be forced to work as a waiter or a typist to sustain himself while waiting for the call to play King Lear, there is no excuse for his frittering away the hours that belong to him - and his true work - with partying, and fun and games."

This particular snippet of the text stung me quite badly the first time I read it, and it still does. I had this self-destructive phase a month or so back while at school, a combination of many things, and when I realized that I had not done a single thing to further my theatrical education beyond hover around the theatre longingly for nearly two and a half weeks, I was more than a little annoyed with myself. Fun and games are an essential part of anyone's life (they are experiences to be had, and everyone needs a social life) and especially young actors. I just needed a bit of a refocus, that was all. Learning to balance everything is part of the process.

"Every actor must demand total discipline of himself if he really means to be an actor."

There's more to this quote but I figured it's mostly self-explanatory. You know what it means to discipline yourself; I kind of dealt with that in my previous quote commentary.

"Stanislavsky's statement is always with me: 'Love the art in yourself, not yourself in the art.' "

Simple. Narcissism will destroy you. Loving yourself in the art is not art - it is selfish and no better than those paparazzi fodder divettes everywhere. Loving the theatre revealed through you, the art created with your words and interpretation - that is the right reason to be onstage. The craft itself.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Emotionally Challenged

Kind of like mentally challenged, or vertically challenged, or mathematically challenged, but not.

Scraps of conversation with a non-actor who sort of understands the actor. Sort of.

ME (12:38:06 AM): character isn't created by pulling together attributes from the outside and form fitting them around you
ME (12:38:43 AM): to be a good performer, you peel away pieces of yourself until you've exposed enough of what's inside of you and put it together in such a way that it isn't you anymore

ME (12:39:50 AM): it's wierd, and that's why Joanna was so terrifying, because I found her inside, not outside.
ME (12:39:59 AM): But I'm relatively sane now, so it's all good.
HIM (12:40:38 AM): ah okay
HIM (12:40:58 AM): so apparently you aren't as emotionally challenged as you thought
ME (12:41:35 AM): how am I less emotionally challenged? Joanna somehow pulled herself together out of the words I was given and my own mental anguish

All I ever talk about is character. Probably because character work can mostly be done by yourself, with your own personal development of technique and understanding of the human condition, yadda yadda yadda, blah blah, Stanislavsky, Method, sense memory, object memory, et cetera, et cetera, you know the drill. I'd love to be able to talk about something else besides picking apart your own brain and going out and having experiences to draw on, but to get into other stuff I have to be doing other stuff. And it's not currently happening. Which is fine.

I've come to terms with the fact that I probably won't be doing a full fledged show this summer, what with my work schedule to be decided tomorrow and all, but in the long run I need cash if I want to continue what I'm doing. Money makes the world go round and it sponsors dreams.

Workout routine will begin tomorrow! (or whenever I find the motivation to wake up earlier than noon...)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

This means I get to be emperor

Real life can be more interesting than the greatest work of fiction ever created. A fan club dedicated to Chuck Palahniuk (author of such gems as Fight Club and Choke)called The Cult made their favourite writer a birthday present. They took the prize postings off of an online forum thread and made Mr. Palahniuk a leather-bound coffee table book, full to the brim of real-life, nitty gritty stories that are laughable and heartbreaking. Inspiration comes from all sorts of places. I've been reading these stories compulsively since I discovered them this morning.

Character, character, character. I love it. There are short stories and plays waiting to be written out of those things. I love it, I love it, I love it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

To Do: Ta Da

I officially checked out of freshman year today, and I decided to make a to-do or summer resolution list. The likelihood of me completing too many of these is slim, but I might as well have something to strive for, right? This is all stuff that will have some sort of impact on my theatrical endeavors, so hopefully it'll all work out.

Daily yoga routine (start it up again)
Swim daily (weather permitting)
Continue training voice (Privelige To Pee/Bat Boy)
Shakespearian monologue (Shrew/12th Night)
Sleep more
Grow out hair
Get some cash (economy permitting)

Sleeping more and growing out my hair might not be directly theatrical or anything, but it's on my list of things to do anyway. I'll need new headshots if I get my hair super long. And sleeping more will keep me healthy. I got my voice back, and I intend to keep it this time. Practice, practice, practice.

It's going to be an interesting summer.

Friday, May 15, 2009

9 People's Favorite Thing

"I'd rather be nine people's favorite thing than a hundred people's ninth favorite thing." - [title of show]

So my freshman year is almost up, and it's been one hell of a ride. I've met the most amazing people, many of whom are graduating and I won't see as often as I'd like to anymore, I've been given the most amazing opportunities here, I've learned more than I ever thought possible, and I'm only getting started around here. That's the best part, too.

I got Rookie of the Year at the department banquet and I was nominated for Best Actress (against three seniors, mind you), which was an honor in itself. I've only been in one single little show - it's a little shocking how many honors I've been given this year, and I am forever grateful for having been given a chance and allowed to succeed.

My classes are over, I did my Acting I final yesterday and it went fairly well. I'll get a good grade and next year be taking Acting II and then going to Circle in the Square in the spring - how cool is that?? Time for a summer of song learning, working for da money, play reading, friend lovin'. ;)

Crescent Players 2009 - 2010 Season:
Othello, dir. Dr. Sheila Garvey
Student Directed One Acts (TBA)
Bat Boy, dir. Larry Nye
Some Girls, dir. Kaia Monroe

Things happen for a reason - I've learned this lesson very, very well over the past few years, and I'm wondering if my whole life is going to play out with beautiful irony.

The Spotlight will be continuing - hopefully more often than I have been, due to classes and such - but it will be continuing and teaching, since I have so much more to learn. Cross my fingers for another ACTF trip next year. Dreams are scary things, but damn, they're so good.

Monday, May 11, 2009


"Stay coolie cool boy."

Allergies destroyed my voice again. Existing and being unable to sing a note is kind of like a pianist being chained to a piano with his fingers all smashed and broken. Run that up a pole and fly it.

Acting 1 final might be an utter disaster. We'll see. Music papers consuming my life. Can barely speak, my sinuses are like a time bomb. I want to go home. I need to get out of here.