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Make graceful and lasting change

Day one: patterns, monologues, confessions

Cindy Tonkin - July 12, 2011

So, day one of iO’s summer intensive.

There are 7 classes, 110 students. There are a few Swiss, apparently a German, I heard a South African, 2 Australians from Brisbane and the 3 of us from Sydney. Some English and some Canadians. And of course a fair few Americans! Erin, Sophie and I are in separate classes, and they did very different things to me.

Class finally started around 1pm after an introduction.

I was supposed to have Bill Arnett as my teacher, but oh no (oh no oh no!), he can’t teach this week, so I have a woman named Marla who plays regularly in Jason Chin’s Whirled News Tonight, and the Armando (which I plan to see tonight). 14 people in my class, including 2 Swiss and 2 Canadians.

After introductions we played a game of patterns (you know, point and set up a pattern, then run multiple patterns simultaneously). class had no problems retaining the patterns, but a truckload of problems setting patterns up. People were trying to be clever, not obvious. We eventually got there.

Serial Monologue: start with a truthful monologue, then we tagged out and continued that monologue (of course once you tagged in it became fiction). Got some cool stuff out of it. Supposed to tag in with the exact word, although not everyone did that. good listening / heightening / game of scene stuff.

Cocktail Party: talk from your real self, as if you’re at a cocktail party. In pairs (we had 3 x pairs on stage) primary responsibility is to connect with your partner. Exercise in listening, giving and taking focus. It’s eminently watchable, which is always weird.

Beetles at the Field Museum,

I have a Confession: these were all set in a diner (so we had an environment). Given a relationship. First person says “i hae a confession to make” and they confess something (i’m in love with your husband); second player then says “actually I have a confession too” (i’m in love with YOUR husband). from then it’s just a normal scene, with reference to the confessions. need to make sure the confessions are important, they are the offers you should play with. challenge to be in it together (rather than being against each other; where there was an argument, Marla stopped it and started again). Each confession offers something about your character too.

Fish at the Shedd Aquarium,

be specific: not when i was little, but when I was 3, or when I was 11 – it makes the story better
keep with the energy – e.g. if the pace of the tagging gets faster, keep it going until it can’t go any faster
have an emotional opinion
people want to watch people who like each other (Keith Johnstone says ‘happy healthy sexy’)
one of the students came up with this metaphor: watching players argue and invent was like walking in a thunderstorm trying to get home: watching them collaborate and like each other was being wrapped in a blanket watching the thunderstorm together.

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