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Make graceful and lasting change

Afternoon with Jet

Cindy Tonkin - August 5, 2008

Afternoon with Jet was just as fun as morning.
Cool warm up – 3 parts to it:
1. in a circle, everybody slaps their legs in rhythm and says “kunja kunja”.
2. One person points their two hands to themselves for 2 beats and says “bunny bunny” (the hands sort of do the “happy talk” gesture for each bunny), then they do “bunny bunny” to someone else, who bunny bunnies to themselves and then to another, etc
3. When someone bunny bunnies, the 2 on either side go “toki toki” like pendulums on either side of the bunny
Once this is rhythmically established, people eliminate themselves if they stuff up (based on the joy of making a mistake), and go dancing around the circle till there are only 2 left, and then we all bow down and they say “we are gods in Korea” (no one knows why this!!).

Second warm up: pick a “best friend” in the group, follow them with your eyes but move independently of them; then mirror them; then do complementary poses to them (close to them). Do this for a while (it looks very cool), then one person chooses an object to work with (clean a window, wash dishes, whatever), you complement that (not necessarily the same thing – may dry dishes or vacuum), keep doing this but from way across the stage (mirrored across centre stage) – now make the gestures more balletic… very beautiful (and something we could use in ballets!)

Next we played with a style of opening. It built from simple to more complex:
– conducted story – to which Jet added “underscoring” (another version of yes anding – “John was 6” “and because John was 6 he went to school”, “and at school he had a good friend called Alfred” – repeating an element of the preceding sentence)
– conducted story with sound scape (effects, sounds, music)
– un-conducted story, with sound scape
– as above, plus move around and make stage pictures, act it out, etc

New opening idea which we’ll be doing more of tomorrow:
– one player strikes a pose
– the others dress them, describing the clothes, their texture, colour, etc
– as they dress the player, they continue to play with the clothing and accessories (get engaged in the texture, etc)
– once you run out of something to decorate, “invest” in someone else’s idea and give it more back story (his necktie was a gift from him mum on his 19th birthday)
– at some point someone will mention another person (e.g. mum) and then a player will be that new person to be dressed/described.
Do 3 people (rule of threes, right)

– clowns deliberately do hard things (climbing a scaffold), because when they fail, there is a naturally occurring emotion to work with (fear, sadness, anger) – no need to make it up – improv can be the same
– the warm up should have the energy and love that you want in your show
– group mind and stage picture go together (is it beautiful or a clump?)
– don’t be confused, group mind always begins with one person’s decision to do something and others following – so either follow or make a new offer – either way you will be part of group mind
– if you are ever lost on stage pick a best friend and do what they are doing
– scenes based on a premise get laughs up front. scenes based on point of view get laughs at the end
– secretly in your opening you have to be thinking “how do we get out of this?”
– after show debriefs should be about what else could have happened – so people know how you think – give them the opportunity to later do something you may want to try, but couldn’t communicate at that moment (but the pattern recurs!)
– if awkward in an opening, try 1. building one giant thing 2. building one environment (both build group mind), 3. make a bold move (and commit to it)
– choose to be an inanimate object in an opening, it can make it less scenic and more open to themes
– if you are better at remembering than inventing, “invest” in other people’s ideas (water them, bring them back, underscore them)
– 3 pots to take from when starting a scene – stacking (see this morning), style, feeling – once you find the source of joy, forget where you got it from and just be it.

oh there is so much more!! Off to see an Armando!

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