This week, double acting and sort-of-finishing some code.
I went to two Drop-in classes in which we continued to work on the opening three pages of Uncle Vanya. Not a lot happens in it: Astrov, a doctor, is telling Marina, a nurse/nanny, about how old and tired he is, and how a man he was operating on died on the table. Alex had us work on raising the stakes: How does he feel about being called out all this way and the “patient” going off for a walk? How guilty does he feel for being here chatting rather than being wherever else he’s urgently needed? How responsible does she feel for wasting the doctor’s time like this? None of this is explicit in the text but it helps enormously in making the scene more urgent and interesting.
We also tried to make things more specific — Astrov needs to see the patient that dies while he talks about him — and ensure the characters have a point of view about everything: what they’re saying, why they’re there, the other person, the people who aren’t there, the state of their life, their past, their future, the state of the world… it’s not like you have to hold all this in your head while delivering the lines but bits will (hopefully) come and go when relevant, and help to give you a reason for why you’re saying what you’re saying.
It was surprising (to me, anyway) how much the scene varied every time we did it. I’m not sure we’ll continue working on it any more but it’s been interesting, useful and enjoyable. Maybe a different scene in January.
And then the stage 2 Meisner course came to an end with an all-day class in which the increasingly soap-opera-like plots reached their conclusions. Our first scene was me in a hospital bed recovering from my abusive wife “pushing” me down the stairs, while she and my sister argued around me. The second was a dinner party with my sister and our respective new partners which was all extremely awkward, a state that I love acting. I’m not quite sure why. Maybe because I can find real life too awkward and stressful at times and so it’s enjoyable to be in a position where there’s nothing at stake for me (as opposed to for the character) and we can really push the hesitancy and awkwardness as much as possible. Good fun.
Around all that I’ve almost finished my laborious website re-write. Or, it’s as finished as it needs to be to put it live. I doubt I’ll manage to tick off all the tiny final tasks over the Christmas period — there are always more than expected — but it’s nice to know I’ve finally got to the end of this stage. I’m not 100% sure whether to put it on Heroku (easier) or my shared WebFaction account (a lot cheaper but probably more fiddly). Decisions, decisions.
But that can wait. Have a lovely Christmas/whatever period of time!
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