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Week 7 - Louis Scheeder
Louis Scheeder, the Director of the Classical Studio NYU, and co-author of Training of The American Actor lead a charged session focusing on Act I scene I, with special attention to his theories of the ‘performative utterance’.
- the idea that each line spoken is done so to actively change something in the person to which we are speaking. That if we play each line with the belief that we shall affect our desired change, to play to win, then the relationships and movements of the scene become clear and energized.
The group discovered that it is extremely important to dispel any preconceptions about a scene when approaching it, as we often attempt to play a preplanned idea of the action and character and are thus not open to the many contradictions in each moment that makes them so interesting and the characters so human.
Louis stated that he believes that almost every character contradicts themselves at least once in every scene.
Playing every sentence performatively, speaking it to affect change then and there means that we are entirely unaware of the coming contradiction but play it fully as it comes. The moment becomes all that matters. This focus us on achieving alleviates the need to act, allowing us merely to do.
Additionally we explored how the occurrence of incomplete lines in the verse can help towards finding moments of action and poignancy in the silence. What is occurring in those moments of the incomplete pentameter? Where does the silence fall, and why?
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|Anonymous||Louis Scheeder said....||0||May 23 2007, 5:39 AM EDT by Anonymous|
Thread started: May 23 2007, 5:39 AM EDT Watch
An outstanding group of actors who eagerly embraced the chance to work with non-traditional ideas and savored the notion of exploring new theoretical ways of thinking about and performing text.
The Factory is committed to reinvigorating the role of the actor in contemporary
theatre production. I trust that their colleagues and contemporaries will soon have the chance to applaud, embrace, and support them.
|Anonymous||James Oxley said....||0||May 23 2007, 5:38 AM EDT by Anonymous|
Thread started: May 23 2007, 5:38 AM EDT Watch
I got a huge amount from this session by a gifted teacher, Shakespeare devotee and self-confessed verse fascist. He showed how, by using the verse, it is possible always to carry the scene forward rather than get caught in the act of describing the past. The stuff about playing to win by changing other characters was really useful, and applicable in any number of situations in acting. It occurred to me later that his 'performative utterance' - that the very act of saying something with an intention changes someone else and thus propels the scene - has the curious effect of changing the emotional state of the speaker, too, but as an inevitable consequence and not by deliberate manufacture, since emotion can neither be created nor denied. In other words, the act of going around changing others changes ourselves, too, and truthfully, in a way that 'cooking up' an emotional state and then acting upon it can never be.
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