Theater Conservatory Confidential: And Your Prize Is Work

Seeing as it’s been a while since I last wrote about the work, I decided to do a brief summary of my largest projects right here. The work-load has most definitely increased this semester to astronomical proportions, with all of us doing at least 7 scenes this semester, alongside all of our papers and other homework. My scenes have all went pretty well, with a few rough edges here and there, but nothing I can’t really polish off with the knowledge I’ve been given.

The first scene we did was a scene dealing with a character’s temperament. Using our knowledge of the play, we’d analyze the character’s temperament to make a better choice in action for the scene. For this scene, a friend and I made a decision to do Rabbit Hole, and, although we ended up rehearsing the scene for upwards of 40 hours, we constantly had it rejected by our teacher, up until the final run-through, which our teacher said was astounding. It was interesting using temperament work to study the character, because, I feel like at first it made me act more of a basic archetypical character, rather than an actual person.

The next scene we had to do was a scene with an external. An external, through Practical Aesthetics, is any accent, disability, or thing that needs to be added on top of all the work. For this, I did Dublin Carol, using the externals of drunkenness and Irish-ness (in other words, just being Irish, my teacher joked). This scene was quickly rehearsed and finished, and we had it run-through and fixed in record time.

Not as fast as our multiple-person scene though, which is exactly what the name describes it as. For this, we learned how to do scenes with more than two people, using other people as tools to get our objective from the person our test was in. It was rough, but the scene from Children’s Hour proved to be strong material for us to use, and after about 30 minutes in class, we never had to do that scene again.

In my Script Analysis class, I have been working on a ten minute scene from Shining City, which has quickly become the bane of my existence. We have brought it into class 4 times now, and been shut down each and every time. I need to discover a truer form of guilt in myself in order for the scene to work, and not just spout defensiveness, which the scene can quickly devolve to if not done well.

In Repetition, we had to find a historical figure we loved, write a monologue as them, dress ourselves, act out the monologue, and improvise a question and answer session afterwards. I chose Emperor Norton (homeless guy in San Francisco thought he was Emperor, city played along with him, fun stuff) and my class seemed to love it. Every moment I performed that was gleeful and exciting.

The other scenes I’m working on and will be putting up before the end of the year are excerpts from Breakfast Club, American Psycho, Clue, and Dog Sees God. I’m really excited for all of these and these have all held strong places in my heart. Almost makes me regret leaving. Almost. On the other hand though, the last time I was really inspired at NYU was in a Meisner and Strasberg class, so who knows? Maybe I’ll find something else somewhere.

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