Monday, September 28, 2009

Master Class Writing Exercises

I am in my second week of the LAByrinth Theater Master Class, which has a more universal approach to being an actor. They want to develop us as writers, producers, directors... really to give us a wider set of tools to be able to perform. Yesterday, Andrea Ciannavei, an accomplished young playwright and actress, directed us through some 'be specific and tell the truth' writing exercises. I have so much respect for this woman and I so wanted to tell her how brave she is for unburying herself, us, her characters. (Beautiful thing about the internet: I found her blog!)

For me, the session was a way in to knowing myself more clearly, which is so necessary when you act. If you can't know what your own truthful response would be to the situations your characters are presented with, you're a lost one. Some of the things I wrote at first shocked me and then made so much sense I felt careless. The other thing that this class did was remind me where drama comes from, how it's created. As some of my classmates shared their writing, I was intrigued, I wanted to know more about their private dramas they hinted at in what they wrote about. Our simple free-writes were compelling, dramatic, good writing.

Anyways, I thought I'd share a few exercises and some of my responses because as useful as this is, it's daunting.

1) Every character and person operates with the 3 following timelines:
  • what you want to have accomplished by the end of your life
  • what you want to have accomplished within 6 months
  • and what you want absolutely right now
So answer these three questions for yourself, but also write what you think is stopping you from obtaining each of these three objectives. Spend 3 minutes on each.

2) This exercise can be specific to you, your play, or your characters. Spend 5 minutes on each of the following questions:
  • What makes you angry
  • What frightens you
  • What makes you hopeful
3) Free write to a piece of music, playing loud enough so the music can overpower you, that reflects your mood, character or themes of your play. I tried this this morning with:

So my responses to the first exercise during class were:
What do I want to have accomplished by the end of my life?
I want to be beloved by the many people I leave behind. I want to have conquered my fear. No more fear.
What's stopping me?
Thinking I don't deserve my dreams. Self-doubt. Cruelty. Chemicals in my head. Narcissism on my part and my loved ones' part. 

What do I want by March 2010?
I don't want to be scared of pursuing acting. I want stability and a sign that I should be doing this: have had a paid acting job. Be real and comfortable in my life. Wholly artistic.
What's stopping me?
Money issues, relationship insecurities, anxiety, lack of opportunity, not knowing the acting game yet, laziness, letting go and trusting myself that I am an artist, sometimes I don't take good enough care of myself.

What do I want right now?
To be asleep in my baby's arms.
What's stopping me?
Restlessness, anxiety, pain, this class, the distance, fucking law school.

Ok, here I am! Now you go!

1 comment:

  1. Very intense song...sad yet redemptive...