Annoyance, level 2 with Neil Dandade

This was another great Annoyance class, again a lesson in looking after ourselves first making ourselves strong so that our scene partner is looked after by being within a strong reality.

We started with the usual warm up scenes, meaningless scenes just to get us off the back wall and thinking in the right zone, there is no wrong. I like this way of warming up as it reminds you of the things you want to be doing without any pressure, everything you do is right.

Simultaneous scenes
We then did 2 simultaneous scenes, where each couple take a side of the stage, one speaks whilst the other is silent and does spacework. One pair is given a location, the other a relationship, and the focus goes from one scene to the other as the silent scene starts talking and the other goes silent, in a back-and-forth. They choose when they want to change, just follow their impulse to talk. The impulse to change is almost the same as the call of “scene”, and it can be inspired by the energy and words of the other scene.

This exercise gives the players a chance to feel out the characters. Making a stronger physical choice makes it easier to inhabit your world so that, when “just” listening, we have a place to be. A stong physical choice can also be a small physical choice. The key is commitment to the choice, big or small.

Part of the game was the grabbing off the other scene, but when the inspiration came too much from each other scene, the back and forth became quite fast. There is a game to be played of being inspired, but also one of not, two totally separate scenes. This can be played with.

Remember, with the physical, chill out, be ok with just being. Be ok with being physical.

Split echo
Here we have a 2 person scene, where one pair do the scene, whilst the next pair are watching but cannot hear, hands over ears just outside the door. Then, the two that had been watching attempt copy as accurately as possible the scene they just watched.

Physical markers are important in this exercise, both for the players to give them and for the watchers to take note of them. Distinct physicality is noticed by the audience, and return to a physicality that they recognise as from the previous scene is interesting to them to watch.

This forces players to show rather than tell. When you see physical gestures filled with energy, you can fill in your own subtext. The key to copying is commitment, noticing how the physicality makes you feel and reacting to that emotionally.

We take care of ourselves by giving ourselves something to do. In this exercise, we give ourselves something to do and let the rest come naturally, letting the emotion and physicality form the words required.

This made the scenes easier to remember because we only had to remember the physicality.

The energy from the scenes comes from the physical choices. If the energy drops in the copied scenes, this energy returns when you recommit to the physical details from the first scene. This is why it is so important to take real note of the physical details.

Learn to justify your position no matter what the scene. Remember to look out for yourself. Keep up the energy.

Rather than freak out, chill out, make a bold physical choice that grounds you in emotions. A bold physical choice means thinking strong, detailed, you are focussed on it and you are committed to it.

Many rooms
Choose a location with many rooms. The players then play scenes from various of the rooms in that location. Thinking of the larger world around you can influence the scene and can pull into the scene.

Character gauntlet
One person is out, in scene. Everyone else comes out, one after another to do a series of scenes with the person out. The person coming out initiates the scene each time.

This exercise is useful to get feedback from the teacher as the instructor gets a change to see you in a variety of situations.
My notes were to make bigger physical choices, and to play more characters that are not me. To feel the freedom to step out of my own physicality (more on that next week).
Be big, be bold, do things I wouldn’t do.

Other notes tended to be the same or talked about being more emotionally energetic, to feel free to let it all out.

An idea is to practice by watching people out and about, and practice copying them, exaggerating what they are doing. Remember, energy and emotion. Worth practicing daily…

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