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week 25-the day the toys came out
TC led the session, to which we were asked to bring an object to use in the various exercises. The exercises seem to be influenced by the exploitative, horror genre known as torture porn.
We placed our objects in front of us and were then asked to pass them one place to our left. We were now in possession of an unfamiliar item.
We were randomly put in one of five groups. Each group would be responsible for telling the story of an act using the objects that had been foisted upon us. A few minutes were given to the groups to come up with a story-telling approach.
The most basic function of the exercise seemed to be to test the actors' knowledge of events. Each group got round this by choosing a narrator to lead the action. For the most part that's where the similarities in the style of storytelling between the groups ended.
The combination of possessions used (everything from a tape measure to a toy fish, a teddy bear to a drafts board) the time constraint and differences in taste and understanding of the story led to a negotiation between the actors as they were showing their act.
The exercises threw up some superb uses of props, for example the use of a metal tape measure in act one.
Laertes warns Ophelia to keep her distance from Hamlet. The distance is measured out with the tape measure. After, Polonius tells Ophelia to keep her distance, only more emphatically. The distance is measured out again and is even longer. What made the use of the tape measure a memorable piece of storytelling was the tape measure being pulled out by Laertes and moving back toward Ophelia, as if it was inevitable Hamlet would be drawn to Ophelia.
The recoiling of the tape measure was a mistake, it slipped from the hand. The mistake made something that worked, work better.
We were reshuffled into groups of four and asked to choose a duologue. Two people read the scene as the other two acted the scene out, using the props which were reshuffled along with the groups.
It was interesting to see how the groups found a way to use the objects to communicate to an audience through their partner. We all struggled to find a language off the cuff, but sometimes a group would hit on something that really worked and it was always interesting to see how the two actioners negotiated a way through.
Seeing the actioner trying to understand what their partner means, as he or she thinks up another odd use for a Rubik's cube, was very watchable.
Again in groups of four, but this time with the two readers reading in bite size chunks, allowing the actioners to repeat the chunks whilst using objects that were, again, reshuffled.
The Hamlet project has changed gear with the introduction of the objects. The discussion these exercises set off brushed on what, when and how we use the objects to tell this story? It was probably the most challenging and fundamental discussion we've had so far.
I was struck by how good we're going to have to be as a company to make the Hamlet project work.
We'll be negotiating a language with these objects from moment to moment or establishing a language for a scene, or half a scene, or an act.
TC told a story about his Hungarian, Hamlet adventure. In act 1, scene 5, Horatio and Marcellus are made to swear that they will "Never make known what they have seen tonight" by Hamlet and the Ghost. Instead of swearing on a sword, Hamlet makes them bite into an apple, the object from the audience.
According to TC, the audience were enthralled right to the point when one the actors (my guess is Marcellus), being left with the thrice bitten apple, starts to chomp it as Hamlet delivers the final lines of the scene.
What was our director saying with this story? The actors made a contract with each other and the audience, and one of them pissed all over it, is my take. Further to that, we're in it together and there are rules we set up along the way, however briefly. If we're successful the audience will get the rules. If we break the rules, we'll lose the audience.
We all struggled with the exercises, but when you saw people finding a way, it was beautiful.
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|jamesoxley||match report||2||Jun 27 2007, 11:18 AM EDT by TimEvans|
|RebeccaSantos||Week 25||1||Jun 27 2007, 11:08 AM EDT by TimEvans|
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