Wow, this is great! Even if I have no dating news, I can share other things in my life now. Like my acting class:I'm currently in a 2-year Meisner training program. There are a few of these in the city, and I'm in a small, but amazingly good one (at least in my opinion). It's funny, because I've been taking acting classes my entire life at some top notch places (my undergrad is a top program, and I've done a summer intensive at one of the top MFA programs). This is the first time that I actually feel I'm getting real, applicable, training.The first year of Meisner training really focuses on two exercises. The famous repetition exercise, which goes a little something like this, or at least it did in rehearsal today:My scene partner:
"You look like a gumdrop."Me: "I look like a gumdrop?"
"Yes, you look like a gumdrop.""That's not a very nice thing to say."
"That's not a very nice thing to say?""You don't understand that?"
"Um, well I guess I understand that.." etc, etc.The point of this exercise is to force the actor to really listen to what the other is saying. It's amazing how many actors you see on stage that are doing their own thing, so that it doesn't really matter what their scene partner is doing. Not very life-like, huh?The other exercise, which we've been working on for almost the whole year so far, is the Independent Activity. Now this is harder to explain, but I'll do my best. There are two people, I'll call them A and B. Every other class you switch, so one class you're A, the next you're B, then back to A, and on and on. Person A has the Independent Activity, while B waits outside, then knocks on the door to come in (there are a few variations of this, but generally B knocks on the door).A has to craft an Independent Activity with the following requirements:--It must be difficult to do. In the early stages of class, this might be something nearly impossible like forging a signature perfectly, exactly copying a painting, etc. Later on, the activity can be less difficult, but still has to be hard.--You must have a simple, specific reason for doing what you're doing. Like learning how to play a song on the guitar to play for your mother in the hospital. If the reason were true, would you do everything you could to get the activity done? At this point we're using "life-altering" circumstances, like a family member's illness/death, or getting a part in a Broadway show.--You need a personal consequence if you fail, i.e. "I'll break my mother's heart," "I won't be able to go on this trip."--You need a specific time frame, i.e. 2 hours, 3 hours, etc. If you don't get it done in the time frame, you will fail. In the meantime, B has to come to the door with an emotional preparation based on their own circumstance, for example, B just got accepted into a 1-month Yoga training program she's been dreaming about going to for years. The circumstance must be very personal to work effectively.So A is working on their activity and B knocks on the door. And a scene is born. You have two people with different emotional lives--when done well, the result is fascinating. What's the point of all this, though? Well, the key concept behind the Meisner work is that your attention is always on the "other." A's attention is on their activity, B's attention is on A. This work forces you to really put your attention on something outside yourself--which is great because it forces you to act naturally. You can't "fake" this stuff. It's so easy to "pretend" to do your activity, but we're forced to really do it. Yes, there is a difference. Anyway, this is my "primer" on the work I'm doing in class. Thought I'd explain it to y'all so when I refer to this stuff in the future, you'll have some clue what I'm talking about....