I just had a really productive weekend. A while ago, I contributed to the Echelon fundraising campaign, and one of the perks was a Thespian Workshop. Going in, I didn’t really know what to expect, but I had an amazing time, and learnt some interesting things.
A lot of the work was improvisational in nature. I am no longer terrified of improv, but let’s just stay it still keeps me on my toes. We also had a lot of times where they asked us what we wanted to work on, or what we found hard to do and the responses reminded me of some pivotal lessons that I had clearly been forgetting. When I said I had trouble being seductive in a scene, a woman reminded me that you need to put the focus on the person. If you look at the other person and really take in every aspect of them, it just comes accross as seduction. So instead of trying to be seductive, take your scene partner in. It takes the pressure off of you and looks a lot more truthful that just trying to look seductive on your own.
As for my Achille’s heel of crying, they reminded me again that it helps to focus on the other person in the scene, but also, not to focus on the obstacle of getting myself to cry. If I am in my head, worrying about how I won’t be able to cry, then I won’t be able to be truthful to the scene, or to let the emotions naturally bring me to a place where I might tear up, or hold myself back from crying, which is actually more powerful than the tears. I am definitely leaving with some excellent tools for facing my acting obstacles.
As for our scene itself, we did it first the way we saw it, then the two people leading the workshop each took turns redirecting us. Some of the redirections definitely made it more powerful, while others might have just been a test to see if we could take direction.
Another thing I realized this weekend is that we gravitate towards people that remind us of someone. If you are in a room with strangers, you will go to the one who reminds you of your sister or your best friend. In my case, I went to the person who reminded me of myself. Not this weekend, but at the play on Friday, before they let us into the room, we were all waiting in a cafe type place. I had been sitting alone at a table, and eventually started a conversation with another person who had come alone and seemed to be using her phone as a defense mechanism, rather than trying to get into the conversations of people I actually do know from work or previous acting engagements. It seemed scarier to bank on them wanting to talk to me than trying my chances with someone new. This is either excellent, because I made a new friend, or really weird, because I was facebook friends with at least 15 other people in that room. Next time I’ll try to talk to all of them.
Overall I had an enlightening experience, learnt a lot about the industry and met a lovely group of actors that I definitely hope to be able to work with again in the future 😉
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
P.S. You can check out the series and the cast of Echelon at http://echelontheseries.com/