Tuesday, February 13, 2018

I Learned from Her

My professor's brilliance! She has taught me so much, and it will be bittersweet to graduate in May! She has revolutionized my concept of theatre and faith.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Embodying the Emotion

College has recently introduced me to a conception that has revolutionized my approach to acting. After implementing this tactic, I have found more honesty with my characters' emotions. The underlining premise emphasizes physical movement above internal motivation. Several books and acting teachers assert that to arrive at an emotional state, you must first physicalize that state. For instance, if your character is angry, you should tighten your muscles and breath rapidly. If you want a tenderhearted delivery, you need to slow your breathing and find a relaxed physical stance. In this practice, the emotion comes as a result of the physical embodiment. The emotion is secondary to the physical state.
Robert Barton and Rocco Dal Vera wrote a book entitled, Voice: Onstage and Off. In this book, they explain how physiological changes create changes in emotion. They suggest that "you can interrupt any emotional pattern by changing the way you are standing, your relationship to gravity, your gestures, your facial expression, and most importantly your breathing. Instead of trying to feel different, simply alter you body to alter your feelings" (176).
After using this approach, I have made significant progress. Using physicality to motivate an emotion is far more efficient than attempting to discover an illusive emotion. I can honestly say that this technique has revolutionized my approach to acting.

Barton, Robert, and Vera R. Dal. Voice: Onstage and Off. , 2017. Print.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Choosing a Focus

Hard to narrow my focus. I fear I have all these good intentions, but they will never come to reality. Then I am reminded, one step at a time.

1. Work with the mentally ill and addicts, using theatre games and sociograms to inspire and encourage.
2. Work locally to promote and fund Taylor University's theatre program.
3. Create a script that addresses the Israeli and Palestinian conflict.
4. Continue to write ten-minute plays and one-act play. Send them to contests.
5. Polish my play entitled, Our Little Revolution.
6. Devote more time to attending theatre conferences and networking with other theatres in the area.
7. Research a time in history, which might motivate a full-length play.
8. Participate in a theatre intensive during the summer.
9. Work to expand my vocal range. Create new character voices and hone accents.
10. Help other playwrights and writers through editing and discussion.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

contemporary parable

There was a man who only used Twitter to comment on politics. This same man only used e-mail to communicate with his employers. The same man only used texting to schedule dinner dates with his wife. The same man only used Facebook to invite people to his son’s basketball games. He carried a cell phone, only for emergency.
His followers on Twitter considered him a hard-headed politician who never listened to others. His employers considered him an efficient employee who lacked social skills. His wife always said yes to his dinner invitations, knowing how romantic he was across the table. The son appreciated his dad because his basketball games were always well attended. The paramedics administered mouth to mouth because they considered him a life worth saving.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

internal focus

Hindsight revealed a truth—I use to be a snob. I denied this as a teenager. All humans eventually acknowledge personal arrogance. It took me longer to recognize my conceit because I strove to be the best—even the most humble.

This egotistical girl greedily accepted piles of awards (best singer, best performer, most dedicated…). Once grateful and proud of such accolades, now I wish I would have shared those awards with my classmates. I had a loud voice and a passionate heart, which forced the spotlight my way too often. I hurt those who only craved a little attention. Instead of focusing on the community’s well-being, I focused on personal accomplishments.

Truthfully, I earned my accolades. It took hard work. Nevertheless, I wish I could have given other people the chance for that solo. I should have mourned with the students who never got to perform because their voices were subpar. I wish I could have acknowledged that my success robbed others of success. My self-absorption spilled out into church activities and work as well.

I found true humility, thanks to Taylor Theatre’s program. Taylor Theatre is exceptional at sustaining and valuing community. Everyone is essential: whether on stage, working backstage, or sitting in the audience. Campus values promote a more courteous approach to life and theatre.

Tracy Manning, the director of Taylor Theatre, introduced me to practical tools to nurture a more benevolent attitude. Tools that helped me see the other. Her exercises forced me to see a performance as a collection of various people on an even playing field. There are no stars; there are only players.

One approach is called “soft focus”. One of my favorite theatre approaches, I recommend it for any organization. Individuals get out of their own heads so they can see the other players. Overacting draws attention away from the more essential parts of the play. Soft focus minimizes internal distractions. Helping to increase awareness of the bigger picture, soft focus minimizes internal focus. The youtube video above showcases these techniques. I suggest watching the whole video and trying the exercises with a group of people.

Theatre and show choir can have the reputations of producing heartless divas: power-hungry people stepping on anyone to get that next part. I am not that self-absorbed, but I have to fight the temptation to turn into such a person. Good theatre can promote better communication and cultivate gracious relationships. Snobs should be barred from the stage. It is possible to be successful and other-centered; you only need acknowledge your personal desire for fame and then allow others to reach with you.