Long Form Immersion, Day 3, with Rachael Mason

The second half of the day was with Rachael Mason. This was very form heavy, a great deal of new information, lots  of detail, including the 3 types of improviser, the 6 ways of creating character, how to create a sketch, and the detail of the “training wheels Harold”.

Rachael’s Nuggets
There are 3 types of improviser.
The heart: who start a scene by doing
The head: who start a scene by saying
The X factor: who start with whatever the fuck they like! They fuck shit up. This is good.

The Heart. This is the physical comic, the character improviser, maker of emotional moves.
The Head. The game move maker, the reference dropper, the editor, the initiator
The X factor. Can be conscious (strategic, does it to bring the scene to life), unconscious or malicious. Both unconscious and malicious are useful, the push the comfort zone and much of the genius in scenes comes from the excitement and the dealing with the left field.

The best team has all three.
The best improviser has a bit of all three. Rachael suggested that an improviser should be 45%, 45%, 10%, Heart, Head, X factor.
Build the part that you are weakest at.

If you make the X factor look good, which is your job (show your scene partners off to be artists, heroes and poets), you will help create a scene that will be way more interesting than it otherwise would be.

The X factor can be scary to play with. Do it. It will make you a stronger improviser and it will give your scenes that chispa of je ne sais quoi.
Work to work with the X factor, the X factor is important.
The X factor uses their brain differently, but that is what makes them special.

To play more X factor style, make simple, declaritive first lines of dialogue. Remember the “because”.
Conscientiously come on doing something you would not ordinarily do. Be in juxtaposition to the others, or choose a different reference from their noticed word.

If you are a Heart, to be more head, start by speaking. Remember, gift: Yourself, Your scene partner, The location or situation.

If you are a Head, to be more heart, make a strong, bold character choice.
There are 6 ways to create character:
1  Bend your spine – lead with a specific part of the body
2  Pick a total body physicality (i.e. old, young, crippled, itching all over)
3  Pick a character inspired by an animal (i.e. a chicken, a lion, and amoeba)
4  Pick an intention (walking as if late or guilty or in charge)
5  Pick an emotion. Remember to include an adjective and to personalise it
6  Pick a fully realised character from a genre

Building a scene

|>  Suggestion
     |> one of 6 character creations
               1  Action
               2  Mirror
          |->  3  Gift
          |->  4  Emotion
               |->  5 to infinity  More Emotion……

Exercise

Training Wheels Harold (so, same people return for the continuation of each scene)
|>  Suggestion  (e.g. War)
     |> Opening – 3 Revolutions / 3 Ideas  (e.g. March, Protest, Bell)
             |> 1st beat; Protagonists – talks about
                               1  Ants – want to overthrow the Queen
                               2  Union workers – want free sandwiches
                               3  Nuns – talking about sex
     |> Group Game
             |> 2nd beat; Same Protagonists – doing
                               1  Ants – have gained power
                               2  Union workers – are on a picnic
                               3  Nuns – post coital smoking
     |> Group Game
             |> 3rd beat; Protagonists – doing
                               1  Ants – are themselves overthrown
                               2  Union workers – picnic overrun by ants
                               3  Nuns – use their cigarette smoke to get rid of the ants
     |> Finally, if the previous scenes didn’t marry, a final Group Game to wrap it up, maybe a reverse of the first group game, giving completion to the audience.

Within this version, the only reason to enter the scene is to heighten the game. Other forms of entry are misplaced edits.

Rachael’s Nuggets
The deep schwa edit – edit with spacework that leads into the spacework for the next scene (smooths the entry to the next scene very nicely)

There are many types of edit, try many, do not limit yourself, experiment.

Transform, don’t change. Bring people with you.

If someone makes the biggest, boldest choice, everyone must follow. Otherwise, They are being the arsehole

Go physical on the monologue. Try making the monologue a physical one, or as you tell your monologue, others act it out…

Monologue – Symmetry or impersonate the word – e.g. everyone on the beach.

Enter the scene, what can you see, what is the emotional reaction to it, why am I here, what do I believe I see?

Sketch
Sketch is a scene that has been built on another scene, just adding more each time

How to create a sketch:
Find 2 characters. That isn’t working, so;
Set it at a different location, say a church. Not working;
Set it at a different location, say a saloon. Works!
Talk about something, say, horses. Not working;
Talk about something, say, the inside leg measurement of a kangaroo. Working!

Then, test, work, go through beats, write it all out through improvising. Keep playing. Decide where to insert it within the rest of the show. If it doesn’t work there, try somewhere else. Work it, work it, work it.

Exercise
We did a Harold, suggestion, Global Cash
1st scenes: Gold wallpaper; A boss who always says no to petitions for cash; An overfull piggybank
Game: The Apprentice, everyone fired
2nd scenes: 1/2 the gold wallpaper has gone; Boss continues to say no to other things; The piggy bank is stolen
Game: Everyone is begging for something
3rd scenes: All the gold wall paper has gone, the boss comes in and says no to a loan, the thief comes in and offers the stolen piggybank.

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