During this week of class, we learned both the roles of the playwright and the cast/crew. We learned how the playwright has the responsibility to create a develop a structure and set of characters and also to create a purpose behind the plot. As a writer, I understand that this is no small feat, but is the playwright really the most important part of a show's production? After all, a show with no cast or crew has lost the ability to communicate its purpose and the characters mean nothing without someone to project them to the world. Actors and the technical crew are all required for a professional play, but they do not belong anywhere without a show to give, so I have come to the conclusion that neither can exist how they should without the other.
I think my first pantomime performance went better than I expected it to. I felt confident about our ability to pull it off, but I must admit that I had a spark of anxiety walking up to the stage.Once we began performing, though, it really wasn't a big deal. Actually, after the music started and we were in production, I completely forgot about the audience and the giggles coming from the class became only background noise- I didn't really even notice it. After our performance, I was just relieved that it went so well.
When brainstorming my monologue this week, I began by thinking of something I would like to give to the audience, as I have learned I must do in most all of my writing. I decided I would like to inspire the people around me to not be afraid to live, so I began thinking of things I have personally experienced which could help to portray my idea. My character is not using any tactics explicitly, and spine doesn't really apply, but my objective is to inspire, so I tried to give an example of something I was hesitant to do, but ended up being happy I did. At this point, I really don't know what sort of theatrical drama I would consider my monologue, but if I had to chose one, I'd say it's a domestic drama.
This week, our class went to see the Sacramento Theatre Company perform As You Like It by William Shakespeare. It was put on by teenage actors, which really made it impressive that it was so good! The romantic relationships within the play were really well played out, and the actors made the Shakespearean speech easy to understand by their very emotional performances.
Today, our class will be practicing our monologues, which I have already prepared for by revising mine to something that sounds natural to me. I haven't thought about physicality much, but I think I'm going to be really open with my Italian hand gestures. I might have to think of something a bit more creative, but at this point, that's all I have. The play we saw Wednesday has inspired me to bring life to my monologue by making it emotional for me and changing my voice to be very fluid in the emotion.
Monologues are definitely a lot different from scenes- a lot harder too. Before I went up, I was okay; I really didn't feel nervous at all, but when I got up there and was in front of everyone, it started to hit me. I started getting all anxious and knew I wouldn't be able to keep my voice from shaking, something that always happens to me when I'm up there alone. I knew it looked awkward just kind of standing there without much movement, but I couldn't think of anything to do and the stuff I'd planned to do just didn't seem natural anymore. I guess my biggest success with it was having known my script well enough that I really didn't have to think much about the words and could try to focus on how the emotion in it came out. Even if there had been only one person simply standing up there with me silently, I think I could've handled that stress better. I've got to work on movement.
When I started coming up with my scene, I decided it would be best if I came up with a story first, then morphed my collage to reflect that. So I've been listening to this old song called Big Iron and I dedicated my scene to that song by making the ranger dueling the outlaw a central scene. However, in my collage, there's a baby bird looking down to an adult bird and I decided to incorporate that into my design by creating a scene where a mother is being mugged and she's yelling to her son in the upstairs window, and the ranger helps her out. That's the scene I drew and will make my model on next week.
When we started making our set designs, I didn't realize our collages were meant to be a background idea for our designs so I really didn't even consider how difficult it would be to take a story out of it. When it came time to consider how the collage was going to make a set design, I decided to take my primary inspiration from a song I'd been playing on repeat for quite a few days prior to story development. My story would parallel the story of the song and feature a western ranger hunting an outlaw in the western US, and to make this work, I had to create a design with a dusty town where the two main characters could talk and duel and stuff. When I started making my set model, I immediately ran into a problem trying to put the walls of the buildings up. Gluing the walls up was no big problem but once I began painting them, the paper started to shrivel up and I had to figure out how to make support beams and keep it strait, then I glued the holes between the walls to seal it up.
When I was making my puppet, I had some high expectations for it that I knew I wouldn't be able to meet with only the time in class. My favorite parts of my puppet are the hair and the cloak, both of which took many hours each of work at home. The hair has individually glues pieces of yarn together as densely as I could make it and the cloak is actually a white cloth that I acrylic painted on the Scout Regiment insignia and green field onto. When I start working on her voice, I hope to portray her 'I don't really care about anything' kind of mentality.
My puppet play performance was pretty average, I think. before and during the show I had no anxiety whatsoever, as I knew I would. I never get nervous when I'm with a group. However, I must admit that my entire group was ill-prepared for our performance and most of our show was improv. I had no idea what was going on toward the end, but the beginning was going according to script. I thought it was good that we had went first because the crowd wouldn't be so judgmental about our lack of clear plot, but the rest of the shows weren't any more practiced, so it was kinda encouraging. I think the last one was the best solely because it was the only one with a clear story and character positions and stuff.
I am so used to reading Shakespeare and other historical texts that I didn't really have a problem with understanding the work. For my hair and makeup designs, I tried to make them a blend between modern and renaissance. Natural yet unusual colors. Shakespeare remains relevant today because his work portrays human nature so exactly that it really shows that people don't change. We can still relate to everything that happens in his work, if we only understand the phrasing.
My final project is a set design of the battle scene at Osgiliath in the Lord of the Rings. I wasn't really sure what to do so I started thinking up things I enjoy watching and I went through a lot before deciding on this scene. I made some rough drafts of the ground and the elevation plan viewpoints. The next day, I had gotten my clay and other building materials including my box, and I started work on the modeling process. It was during the framing of my structures that I realized that my rough drafts were kind of unrealistic in some aspects and I had to change the plans to accommodate the physical restraints of my box. I ended up removing a wall and a doorway but the space is better used because of it. Really my only influence on this project is the battle scene in the Lord of the Rings movie.
Considering I did the entire project in about four days, I feel like my performance went pretty well. My model turned out almost exactly as I wanted and I feel like my paper blueprints were pretty good too. I expected I would be really nervous going up there to present (mostly because I was by myself), but I wasn't nervous at all. I think my biggest takeaway from this entire semester has been my growing comfort with presentations in front of groups.
Reflections on studies and perfroamnces