Theater Conservatory Confidential: Rehearsal 24/7

Eli Diamond continues to brave his first year at theater school.

So spring break is almost here, and I find it really sad that I haven’t really been talking about the actual meat of what I’m learning here, so I guess this is where I’ll get into that. The biggest issue for me coming back from winter break had to be the disconnect I had from staying in the moment. I kept intellectualizing the work too much, as opposed to simply experiencing each moment as it came, and reacting to that. This was seen, and commented on by my teachers in my first scene (This is a Chair by Carol Churchill). I had to go into a lot of intense repetition in order to get my moment to moment work back in action, which I was luckily able to do, thanks in large part to my scene partner Heather.

Heather and I are doing a scene from Rabbit Hole, by David Lindsay-Abaire, and the fun of repeating with her really lies in the amount of animation she has. She’s a very open, expressive person, and as such has allowed me to really become expressive in all my repetition, not just that with her. Our scene from Rabbit Hole has become an exercise of endurance, for what used to be a 2 minute scene has, with all the pauses our teacher insisted on, become 16 minutes. Our last rehearsal ended with both of us face down on separate couches, praying for sleep.

This is another reason I love this technique: It really makes you feel. Like if you have a scene that would be representative of an exhausting encounter in real life, by the end of the scene, you will feel as exhausted as the character, if not more so. It’s a truly remarkable technique in both its simplicity and depth.

Recently, I have been working on beat changes, namely in my scene from Shining City, by Conor McPherson. Changing entire actions when using this technique is an exercise in trial and error, as oftentimes I find myself merely inhabiting the idea of the action rather than truly feeling it in me. The scene is going fantastically though, as my scene partner and I performed it last weekend for Script Analysis and, even though she edited our analysis quite a bit, she thought our moment to moment work was beautiful. So we’ve got one thing down.

So I’m kinda glad I get this much needed break now, for I have to start working on my largest project for the semester: Writing, performing, and improvising a monologue and Q&A session as a historical figure, but that’ll all be news for after break.

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