THE VOICE

Ok. From the rules pages and exercises you came across all the stuff about NOT talking while doing object work with the WARNING that when you talk you will start thinking and so on....

SO here is where we are going to deal with all that. Ok here we go.......................

First you remember that we already did talk.....in the very first exercise for rule #1.....you remember the old Yes....And exercise?? Well....keep that in mind cause we are going to use part of that and then steal (as all good improvisers do) from someone else. That person is......none other than.....

Sanford Meisner

and the book that documents his teaching.......

Sanford Meisner on Acting

Vintage books

And here is a link to the book if you want to check it out.

Now...what he has to offer in terms of the VOICE dilemna is very important. He was teaching actors the "foundation" of their work. He called it "the reality of doing". In order to bring this "foundation=the reality of doing" about he used and reused and then used again an exercise called "The Word Repetition Game".

"THE WORD REPETITION GAME"

And that combined with the YES....AND exercise for RULE #1 will be our springboard, foundation, ground zero (whatever) for bringing the...

VOICE

Into our work....BUT FIRST this little commentary:) If you will indulge??

Thanks for indulging:)

Ok. So now let's go on with the work of TALKING and improvising at the same time. Here is how it works.

This next exercise is going to encompass some of the elements we have worked on before

1) Point of Focus

a) image

b) object

c) partner

2)Yes...And...

And add to those elements the new one "THE WORD REPETITION GAME"

Ok here is how it works.....step by step.

EXERCISE SERIES

Talking and Improvising at the same time.

(Never thought we would get here I bet)

Exercise #1- Point of Focus (POF) Image

So two people sit in chairs facing out front. They are to think of something that is very important to them.

This should not be a thing like "Money" or "Ice cream" but more like some moment of their life that was meaningful in some way. It can be private, since it does not need to be revealed for what it is at any point. It could be ANY moment of one's life that they remember as being "IMPORTANT" to them.

Now each of the players have this important thing/happening in their lives set and then they pick out one single IMAGE contained in that moment and visualize /picture that (much like we did when we did POF image). Ok?

For example: let's say you remember a time like Christmas when you got the present you had been hoping for - so the single image you pick to focus on might be the present, your mom's face when you opened it, playing with it later. Just pick one such image.

Now each of the players share this image (just as they did in the POF Image exercise) then they make eye contact with each other while maintaining that IMAGE in their minds's eye (so to speak-if I may).

So what is happening here is (hopefully) much the same thing that happened when we were sharing a physical object - remember - it TRANSFORMED. Well that is what (hopefully) is about to happen here - only with an IMAGE.

1) You have it

2) You share it by making eye contact

3) it will TRANSFORM.

Once the Image has been shared through eye contact each player turns back out and visualizes a new image which resulted from the eye contact.

So when each player has this image strongly in mind and then makes eye contact with a partner doing the same thing- then what should result is a transformation in the image. Keep trying to allow that to happen - to experience a TRANSFORMATION of your "Important" image that results from sharing eye-contact with a partner.

That's It. That's all for exercise # 1- AND WE STILL HAVEN'T SAID A WORD ...(it's coming)

Exercise #2 Adding Voice with Word Repetition Game

Two Players repeat Exercise #1 only this time after making the initial eye contact, one of the players makes a observation statement about the partner.

YEA! We get to open our mouths!

Yes. So here is what we are doing. The same thing as in #1....but once the image has TRANSFORMED - THEN you turn back to your partner and observe something about her or him and speak it aloud. Ok? Here are some examples of OBSERVATION STATEMENTS

A) Your hair is curly

B) You look angry (sad) (happy)

So these are observation statements. You are merely stating out loud (VOICE) something you are observing in your partner. Now. Only one statement is made. That is, the first person who speaks makes the statement or you can decide before hand which person will eventually speak aloud. - BUT ONLY ONE STATEMENT IS MADE.

After the statement is made the two players turn out front and discover (as in the 1st exercise) a new POF IMAGE. Then when that image is captured they once again make eye-contact. This time the person who DID NOT SPEAK (the person who was the focus of the observation/statement) REPEATS THE SAME STATEMENT EXACTLY. (Except for the change in the pronoun)

So we are really doing the same thing - following the same pattern over again.

1) The observation/statement is made

2) Both players focus front again and change the POF Image

3)When that Image has been captured

4) They turn back to each other again (POF Partner)

5) The person who didn't speak last time now says the same exact statement again except to change the pronoun.

And here is an example of how this MIGHT all happen.

1) Two players have done Exercise #1 and now are each focused out with that TRANSFORMED image of theirs.

2) Now they both turn to make eye contact with each other (POF PARTNER) and one of the players makes an OBSERVATION/STATEMENT like...

Player 1:You look really tired

3) Now both actors turn and face out again and change the POF IMAGE again.

4) Then they both turn toward each other again and make eye-contact (POF PARTNER) and this time Player 2 repeats the same statement EXACTLY except to change the pronoun.

Player 2: I look really tired.

Then this same sequence is repeated until the LEADER stops it.

HERE IS WHAT WE SHOULD SEE HAPPENING

As the REPETITION continues we see that even though the same old - same old WORDS are being SPOKEN by the players VOICES - those words take on diffrent meanings, shadings, and attitudes. YES. Even though we are repeating the same WORDS over and over and over. SO...we witness and learn that what is interesting and important in the work is NOT THE WORDS but all that subtle "OTHER STUFF".

It is all that wonderful "OTHER STUFF" that is coming from the intuitive

And it is all that intuitive "OTHER STUFF" that so easily departs when we begin using WORDS VOICE TALKING.

Ok. That's it. Gee we are finally talking even if it is controlled a bit (to say the least).

But that is exactly why we are doing all this. We are controlling it to point out and to experience the full intensity of what is going on in a split second in our REAL lives. EXACTLY. This whole page started quoting Meisner about "The reality of doing" and the "Foundation" of that. Well this is it! This is what we REALLY do! Except that it usually happens so fast that we are unaware of the image (POF) shifts that occur in a millisecond.

Now, obviously, this dissection takes a lot of explaining. But the whole point is to FREE you from thinking - since all you are really doing is accepting a natural flow of Images and stating the obvious. As you work in this form it should begin to flow more quickly - to become "The reality of doing".


HINT: As with any exercise designed to take and hold us in the intuitive their will always be that same old same old fight to think and be rational. Some of the most obvious ones from my experience crop up like this.

1)Discussing over and over again the elements of the form (Just do it! And learn by making mistakes)

2)Pausing, pacing the shifts in focus so the players feel "COMFORTABLE" (Which usually means they are thinking. So the players and leader should push themselves to move faster than the point where they feel COMFORTABLE

3)READING instead of REACTING- Players will tend to want to SUPPLY INFLECTION or MANUFACTURE EMOTION in the repetition. All they should do is REPEAT. Nothing more. Just repeat the Observation Statement without EMOTING or EMBELLISHING. (Don't do anything)

If you have problems or new insights by doing this work you are always free to E-mail me.

Just click the !/? Slate

Exercise #3 Practicing with Point of Focus (POF)

One of the difficult things to get is how to make this POF stuff feel the least bit natural. (Maybe you have discovered this by now?) So... here is yet another exersise that will deal specifically with this problem

So two players sit in chairs facing out and being the "Repitition Word Game" just as before. The only change that is going to happen in this exercise is the "The Leader" will call out the changes in the POF as the exercise progresses.

So the two players are doing just as they did in the previous exercise....(altering the POF image and POF partner while repeating the Observation Statment). OK? BUT NOW each actor will also discover a small object which they can manipulate and shift their focus to.

Once the exercise has continued past two progressions of repeating then "The Leader" begins calling out ANY of the possible Points of Focus.

a)Image

b)Partner

c)Object

The players shift their Point of Focus to whatever the "Leader" calls.

WHEW! Ok. Now we are doing it all. So we began all this with "The Repitition Game" right...? So now JUST KEEP DOING THAT...the same old repitition of the same old "Observation Statement" just as before. The ONLY diffrence is that the players shift their POF to whatever the Leader calls.


HINT (about what might go wrong)

1)DO YOUR POF.

Here is where things can get muddy. SO...regardless what your Observation Statement is....be sure to ESTABLISH THE POF the "Leader" has called.

EXAMPLE-Let's say your Observation Statement is "You look sad". and the "Leader has called out POF IMAGE. So you are looking out at your POF IMAGE and repete - "YOU (I) LOOK SAD. BUT...be sure you have established your POF. (Let's say it is a cat you had as a kid) Well, you establish that POF Clearly before you repete "YOU (I) LOOK SAD". And the same is true for all other POF's called by the "Leader" in the course of the Word Repetition Game.

And here is what might happen...

Usually the Players will feel very "UNCOMFORTABLE" doing this exercise -(which is good because that probably means they are doing it well) BUT what should happen to those observing the players is:

The process they are observing is very much like can be observed in real life.

Only actors and performers will keep constant eye contact while having a conversation.

People almost never do that in real life. Do they? Do you?

SO...Maybe we are getting to the place we set out for; The Reality of Doing and maybe we have discovered that "Being Uncomfortable" is a -GOOD thing! AND..that when we are DOING REAL LIFE in our work -

IT DOESN'T FEEL AS THOUGH WE ARE. hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.


ANYWAY GIVE IT YOUR BEST. If you have problems or questions or insights you know what to do:)


Ok and now are we ready to go on TALKING

If SO LET's GO


RULES PAGE