Hostel Practice Notes 2017-11-22

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5 of us practiced at the theater thanks to the kindness of Richard who let us in and helped us practice. Here are some notes that are hopefully accurate!

We explored the space and thought about ways to use it best. For example, we can bring the sidelines way forward towards the audience and give ourselves a sense of space by bringing the chairs downstage away from the wall, treating the columns like a back line.

Warm-ups we did:

  • Pass-the-clap. Around the circle, across the circle, moving around the room.
  • Vocal warm-ups led by Kim. Roll head down one vertebra at a time, bend all the way down to touch toes, wiggle around while rolling up one vertebra at a time. Make noises while mashing up cheeks and temples to loosen face muscles. Make sounds from different parts of the sound apparatus, starting with nasal "hee hee hee", then throat "heh heh heh", mall-Santa belly "ho ho ho", creepy dude groin "huh huh huh". Then go back up making sounds in reverse order.
  • Flocking exercise. As Richard played a song, one leader leads an improvised dance around the stage. Everyone else follows along trying to match movements. Richard changed song after about a minute, new leader self-selects and we repeat.

We did an exercise that is from Rick Andrews, though many folks learned a similar one from other instructors. It involves two players at a time.

  • Round 1: Audience gives a one-word topic. Players are seated and act as themselves having a normal conversation. Say truthful things that you believe or happened to you. Not trying to be funny, not trying to be characters. The conversation can become funny because conversations can be funny, but should not be jokey.
  • Round 2: Audience gives an activity that requires some amount of doing things and moving around the space in addition to a new one-word topic. Players do the activity while talking about the topic (not about the activity), still being themselves saying truthful things, not jokey, etc.
  • Round 3: Audience again gives an activity and one-word topic. Each player chooses a voice modification like talking more deeply or nasally or gritting their teeth (slight modifications only, no accents). Scene begins same as round 2, but the voice modification draws you into a character, so you can drift from your true personal stories/beliefs.

We were almost out of time, so we did a little ~6 minute set that started with "Real Talk" - basically starting with an input and doing Round 2 of the exercise until someone comes in to start a tag run or scene based on it. Any full scene wipe starts again with a real talk conversation and some object work.