September 22, 2004

GeneralThe Given Circumstances

Script Analysis is the class that scared the most out of me this summer.

To a degree, it's still the class that scares me the most. (In conversations with others, this is pretty much a universal fear too...)

The fundamental principle of the professor seems to be that we, graduate students in theatre nearly universally coming from some sort of theatrical background, need to be g how to read a script. We need to re-learn the art of reading the script, so as to better grasp the "given circumstances" present in the text - answering the questions "who," what," and "when" among many, many others. The "given circumstances" chip away at the basic facts of the play in order to better see the motivations and the

It is only after answering these questions that a convincing performance of any contemporary work can be delivered, or can the reader adequately understand what the playwright was going for with his use of language. It's a good idea. But it's daunting. The workload is daunting. The professor is daunting, demanding that we read the plays and understand them (unbelievable, no? ) We're treated as "professionals," I guess, although I don't like that term. We're treated as adults...that works a little better. We're expected to want to get this information that is in the text.

And for the most part, I really do. I want to write plays. I want to have them read, and performed and understood. This is what I (thought) my life should be about. It's at least what I want to (eventually) get paid for.

The problem is it's hard. Reading the plays for this stuff is tough. I just want the plot. Second, I want the images - what can I put on the damn stage to make an audience like the words? By that point, I had always thought I'd exhausted the text.

Apparently not.

I like the class, don't get me wrong. It's just tough as nails going in every week trying to say something intelligent. Or rather, to go in trying not to sound like an idiot, harping on some random tidbit of fact blatently missing the more relevant information.

And the professor, though daunting, is also incredible. She elevates what we're doing to the highest status that art can have in a society. We're not insulating ourselves by reading these texts, we're allowing the texts to be freed and learning how to bring them into the world. She herself has been an (equity) actress, has studied theater at the highest levels, wrote books on Theater, has directed more plays than I can count. It's just daunting, going in week after week.

It's all worth it though, it seems, when she talks off-hand, in general about the class. Like tonight. During a moment in class, she told us:

"Theatre exists to uplift. That's your job - to keep that going. Because when that dies, we're all midgets."

It helps to see this as a higher calling, rather than a path to unemployment, disappointment and waiting tables.

It's been a pretty decent week so far otherwise...It's funny when one's initial impressions come out in the company of people you formed them of. Thinking of someone as "the big acting guy." And then finding out that your initial impression is nothing like the person. It's refreshing.

"Art" goes incredibly well. I don't think I've ever worked on a production that's been as far along by this point in the production schedule as this one is. We're further along than many Masque shows were on the Thursday of tech week. Tonight was a night off, and was WONDERFUL. I pump myself up each rehearsal by reminding myself that I'm a part of something bigger, that this is gonna be great, but still, a rehearsal amounts to me sitting on my ass prompting lines for up to 8 hours at a time. It's boring as heck, and easy to get distracted, and I also don't want to screw the actors up in their work.

Wednesday is my day off from classes. There's a late rehearsal, and I gotta run food shopping, but otherwise it's an otherwise unencumbered day. I can't wait.

[Listening to: "American Idiot", by Green Day from the album "American Idiot"]
Posted by Matthew at September 22, 2004 12:01 AM
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