LUL 2009 :
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blog.txt -- Director's Notes

ACTING

... 2006 Film w/Anatoly I & II: Directing + Theory


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"Without wonder and insight, acting is just a trade. With it, it becomes creation." - Bette Davis
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Writing this textbook is not good for me. I am getting mad.

Once I told you about the plummer, who came to fix the toilet. He is a professional, I am not; if I could, I would do it myself. But, look, do you want to deal with the plummer, who needs his motivation and inspiration to fix the toilet? I don't think so.

Every time actors ask me this question about motivation, I ask back -- What is your take? You should have YOUR idea first. There are many simple little things you have to know.

If I see that you struggle without getting it, I will step in, but you have to be initiator, you are the first. I consider it professional relations between partners in theatre business. If I don't like it, I tell you. If I don't, you are on the right track.

The Relaxation! Do you want me to my director's exercises in front of twenty actors? Do you care how I do it? I direct. Teaching is a by-product of directing shows.

I complain, because sometimes I feel that I'm losing my mind. This plummer doesn't come to teach me how to fix toilets and meditate before it -- I am not interest, this is not my BUSINESS. I prefer to come home and see that my toilet is fixed, working -- that's professional.

Same with you, actors. You can't be busy with all those questions that are not your PROBLEMS!

Don't teach, even yourself! Learn. Be simple. Your body is different from the rest of us, the same with your mind, soul, spirit, will. Yes, you don't know yourself completely, but knows you better than you?

Not me.

So, Stanislavsky said, take yourself seriously, actor. Do your work!

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A lot of what acting is paying attention. Robert Redford
THR121 Fundamentals of Acting Textbook Spring 2003:
Acting in Person and in Style
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Actors on Acting
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The Director's Eye
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THR334 Film & Movies Textbook Spring 2003:
How to Read a Film
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* Caligari 2009 - Lul 2010

UAF: Don Juan 2003, Moliere
2005: total directing & total acting
2006: vTheatre pomo project

Summary

"The first, and most important master [is] feeling..." (Stanislavsky 82)
2003 Playscript Analysis (textbook) Modern Drama

Questions

The most important thing in acting is honesty; once you've learned to fake it, you're in. ~ Samuel Goldwyn
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* one act fest
Chekhov Anton Chekhov

* Uncle Vanya
* Cherry Orchard
* Seagull

* one-acts

Notes

A novelist may lose his readers for a few pages; a playwright never dares lose his audience for a minute. ~ Terence Rattigan
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Acting: The First Six Lessons. Richard Boleslavsky - Publisher: Theatre Arts Inc. New York 1933.

- The First Lesson: Concentration
- The Second Lesson: Memory of Emotion
- The Third Lesson: Dramatic Action
- The Fourth Lesson: Characterization
- The Fifth Lesson: Observation
- The Sixth Lesson: Rhythm

preACT
Stanislavsky: Our demands are simple, normal, and therefore they are difficult to satisfy. All we ask is that an actor on the stage live in accordance with natural laws.

Diderot thought that something similar applied to the presentation and expression of emotion on the stage. In an essay entitled The Paradox of Acting, he argued that the actor needed to strip away unnecessary gestures, unnecessary props, and indeed any aspect of the performance that distracted from the communication of feeling to the audience, or did not positively contribute to the communication of feeling. The performance should be a studied exercise in pure emotional expression, rather than a raw and spontaneous outpouring of the actors feelings.
If the actor really were choked with emotion, the audience wouldnt be able to hear him. Some dramatic roles require the actor to run through several emotions in quick succession. Such a performance is rehearsed and repeated - surely, argues Diderot, if the actor really experienced the same powerful feelings each time, he would quickly be an emotional wreck. (Perhaps Antonin Artaud was the exception that proved the rule: he did, and he was.) Therefore it is neither appropriate nor even plausible that a great actor feels the same things - performance after performance - that he makes his audience feel.
Diderots views were controversial, and remain so. In the twentieth century, this approach became known as Method Acting.

Diderots paradox: to be more expressive and assertive, we need to be less spontaneous, less free. [According to this principle, we need to work all aggression out of our speech habits, whether this aggression is directed against ourselves or against others].

FilmActing

Order of Importance:

1. author -- Author is the star: play of words. Author gives story, character, dialogue. Actor gives it life.

2. audience -- Entertain the audience. Key to play. Most important character is the audience.

3. actor -- What does it have to do to the audience, what should it accomplish? Actor has all the judgment, not the director.

4. director -- Does scene do what the story requires? Director is an observer. A series of variations from actor. Director picks one.

[ abwag.com ]

Focus: Actor Homework: The Script & The Artist's Notebook

Script Analysis Actor:

Theatre Books Master Page *

LIMITATIONS
Some actors do not fully realize the limitations placed on them by nature. They undertake problems beyond their powers to solve. The comedian wants to play tragedy, the old man to be a jeune premier, the simple type longs for heroic parts and the soubrette for the dramatic. This can only result in forcing, impotence, and stereotyped, mechanical action. These are shackles and your only means of getting out of them is to study your art and yourself in relation to it. --An Aktor Prepares

2006: Beckett Year!

...


Method Acting index * 200X * Film Dir * Books * Theatre w/Anatoly * SHOWs * Script Analysis * Acting * Directing * Russian-American Theatre (RAT) * Film Links * My Russian Plays * BioMechanics * Classes Dir * VIRTUAL THEATRE * appendix * links * list * Glossary * Anatoly's Blog * Theatre Books *
Many others have taken the place of Stanislavski as prominent method teachers. Perhaps the most successful and worthwhile being Michael Chekhov, Anton Chekhov's nephew; Vantankov, a Stanislavski student and proteg; Uta Hagen, the author of "Respect for Acting"; Richard Boleslavski; and most importantly Lee Strasberg who had a great impact on both The Actor's Studio and the Group Theater, which were method acting strongholds, labs for experimentation, and the equivalent to nursery schools for many of the greatest actors of the late 20th century.
A separate, though closely related, school of Method acting was championed by Sanford Meisner, another Group Theatre pioneer. Meisner broke from Strasberg on the subject of "sense memory" or "emotion memory", one of the basic tenets of Method. Meisner's theory thus revolves around being fully in the moment of the character, and experiencing all sensations as the character would, while his contemporaries used their own experiences as springboards into the emotional life of the character...

Basics: Fundamentals of Acting Review

Thespis -- considered to be the first actor -- thus the term thespian -- 554 BC (193). Acting was not really widely a "profession" till the 16th century.
Dion Boucicault, "The Art of Acting": "... the study of character should be from the inside; not from the outside! Great painters, I am told, used to draw a human figure in the nude form, and, when they were proposing to finish their pictures, to paint the costumes; then the costumes came right. That is exactly how an actor ought to study his art. He ought to paint his character in the nude form and put the costume on the last thing."
In the creative process there is the father, the author of the play; the mother, the actor pregnant with the part; and the child, the role to be born. Stanislavsky

Everything about Method is requirement that what you do on stage must MAKE SENSE!

I will touch only a few well known principles:

Motivation (Justification) -- why do you (character) do what you do. Why did you go to the table? Or why you didn't. What was the REASON? What is the MEANING of it?

Do you know when I ask? When I do not understand or do to see it! I don't even care do you know or not what is your motivation as long as it is there.

Public Solitude -- "private in public"... You, actor, is on public, but Hamlet!

Stage Fright -- Take Yoga classes or something, or go to the church instead of the movies. What is this nonsense? If you are not in character, of course, you will afraid to be on public, because you have no business to be on stage! Who doesn't fear the challenge of the event? athlet, politician? The fear is the ENERGY, use it!

Animal Exercises -- ... no, this stuff is not this book!

Magic If ...

I don't speak on such matters. Because if you consider professional acting, you should know it already

Second, it's personal -- you have to find you own way, which works for you.

Third, a book is a bad couch.

Besides, what do I know about warmups? I am a director, my actors with a few shows behind are better leaders in warmups.

So, I will stick to what I know, what I do, what I practice. The unknown is for you to learn. Unknown? You and your mix the character you are about to play.

Seagull
Above: Stanislavsky as Trigorin (Moscow Art Theatre, Seagull by Anton Chekhov). Chekhov loved him as an actor, not as a director.

Stanislavsky
Method2002
: From Inside Out

Warmups (yoga): Eagle
descriptions: -- and the sequences.
Camel child dance

PS

Stay focused: make your character into your role! Everything else is secondary.

Mind your own business: evaluate everything according to main task. Make sure that blocking, costume, makeup, prop and etc. serve you (your character).

Homework

Keep working on your portfolio (monologues for auditions). Even we, on campus, require our majors to audition every Sept. (even if they don't plan to be in the season's productions). Stay in shape!

[ textbook assignments ]

NB

Stanislavsky: - . . - , . [ The "System" is only a guide. Open and read it. The "System" is factbook, not a philosophy." ]
Mind-Freud At end of his life Stanislavsky was interested in yoga; maybe because our western take on actor's soul (Freud) has it's limitations (intellectual approach). I do not know how to bridge the two --

In stages, I guess.

To place in topics (top bar): emotional recall, dual consciousness, inner monologue, subtext [ new pages? ]

Where and when?

2-17-04 Anatoly
Lesson #
60 or 90 min
overview:

1. review (previous class)

2. overview

3. new key terms & definitions

4. monologues & scenes

5. issues & topics

6. questions, discussion, analysis

7. in class work

8. feedback

9. improv & games

10. reading

11. homework

12. online, journals

13. quiz

Links

paperwork

Chekhov Pages
chekhov.us

Class Project (after the midterm)

playsChekhov, Ibsen, Shakespeare

Actingland.com - Acting resources, career guides, and casting information.

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To be a character who feels a deep emotion, one must go into the memory's vault and mix in a sad memory from one's own life. Albert Finney

ACT and DIRECT photo-archives:
A cat actually thinks visibly. If you watch him jump on a shelf, the wish to jump and the action of jumping are one and the same thing... It's in exactly the same way that all Brook's exercises try to train the actor. The actor is trained to become so organically related within himself, he thinks completely with his body. He becomes one sensitive, responding whole... The whole of him is one. John Heilpern "As an actor, you the artist have to perform on the most difficult instrument to master, that is your own self, your physical being and emotional being. That, I believe is where all the confusion of the different schools of acting stems from and that is why Michael Chekhov's 'To the Actor' manuscript, which I hold in front of me, is worth more than gold to every actor. In fact, I believe to every creative artist." Yul Brynner

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The Four Pillars of Acting:

I. style --

II. emotion --

III. objective --

IV. sense memory --

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