Writing from May 2006

New York Review of Books, 12 January 2006

From 'Salvation Through Laughter' (subscribers only) by Charles Simic, on Witold Gombrowicz.

...writing about existentialism, he [Gombrowicz] had this to say:

It seems impossible to meet the demands of Dasein and simultaneously have coffee and croissants for an evening snack. To fear nothingness, but to fear the dentist more. To be consciousness, which walks around in pants and talks on the telephone. To be responsibility, which runs little shopping errands downtown. To bear the weight of significant being, to install the world with meaning and then return the change from ten pesos.

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In Periodicals on 4 May 2006. 1 comment. Permalink

New York Review of Books, 9 February 2006

I circled a lot of 'Jimmy Carter & the Culture of Death' by Garry Wills, a review of Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis by Jimmy Carter. I keep finding myself getting intriguied by morals and ethics and would like to read more about them (so at least I could tell if there's a difference between morals and ethics). On with the lengthy quoting.

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In Periodicals on 5 May 2006. Permalink

London Review of Books, 20 April 2006

I'd really like to read a book about revolutions. Describing how a variety of major popular uprisings have happened; what sparked them off, who took part, what worked, what didn't, what lasted. Are there common factors among them? If you know of such a book, do let me know. In the meantime, the current London Review of Books has 'Martial Art' (subscribers only again) by Bruce Robbins, a review of Science of Science and Reflexivity by Pierre Bourdieu, which contains these two paragraphs:

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In Periodicals on 5 May 2006. Permalink

The Collection rehearsals

In all the time I've been doing acting classes I've rarely had to rehearse anything; we've never stuck with one scene or play long enough to give it any polish. This term, finally, I've got a chance to spend a few weeks on piece (a few hours a week, anyway).

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In City Lit on 5 May 2006. 2 comments. Permalink

More rehearsals

Three more hours of rehearsals for our The Collection scene. Rather than continually running through the entire scene we focused on a little bit at a time, going over and over it, trying out different moves and moods and statuses. We also introduced some props this time, which makes a big difference. It now feels more like people in a real room, rather than a glorified reciting of lines. I think we made good progress, although it's hard to tell what will work for the audience from where we are. Spending around five hours or so a week rehearsing on our own and then spending only 15-20 minutes with the "director" (our teacher) seems a little off balance.

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In City Lit on 7 May 2006. Permalink

‘Respect for Acting’ by Uta Hagen

I made these notes last summer, but it's taken me nine months to get round to typing them up. My notes on Stanislavski's An Actor Prepares seem to be useful to plenty of people, so maybe these will too. Hagen's book was the only required read for my Foundation acting course at the City Lit, and we've had to do some of the solo exercises she describes.

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In Acting books, Books on 8 May 2006. 13 comments. Permalink

‘Sanford Meisner on Acting’

We did a bit of Meisner in my acting classes but it wasn't doing much for me. I'd heard it could be very effective so I read the book to find out what wasn't working. It's a good read. Like Stanislavski's An Actor Prepares it describes Meisner teaching students, which is an effective and enjoyable way to deliver ideas (the only difference being Stanislavski's was narrated by a student, while Meisner's is described by a neutral observer). Meisner is all about being truthful -- stop acting, stop being polite, and start doing what feels honest. Inspiring stuff, but I need to do it rather than just reading about it for it to sink in...

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In Acting books, Books on 9 May 2006. 5 comments. Permalink

The Collection Rehearsals part 3

Since I last wrote we've spent a few more hours on our little scene from Pinter's The Collection. Quite a bit's changed and although I was concerned we (or, at least, I) weren't getting anywhere, I think we've now made progress.

Continued…

In City Lit on 21 May 2006. Permalink