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
and the book that documents his teaching.......
Sanford Meisner on Acting
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...
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
And add to those elements the new one "THE WORD
Ok here is how it works.....step by step.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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