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Make graceful and lasting change

The Clark St Dog

Cindy Tonkin - July 30, 2008

Apparently the Clark St Dog makes authentic Chicago Hot Dogs. I came here with one of my classmates early in the course.

What makes an authentic dog is an all-beef sausage, a bright unnatural green relish and some mustard, and all the condiments go onto the bun before the sausage does.

It smells pretty good. I can’t actually eat any of it. Nor can I eat the other big Chicago thing – deep dish pizza. But it also smells great.

Oh and other thing they advertise on this sign, Philly Steak – tiny strips of steak fried with lots of oil and cheese. Doesn’t smell anywhere near as good.

One of the women in my class is allergic to anything grown on trees. She is also foot-phobic. Another woman has no sense of smell at all. The people you meet, as Dr Seuss would say!

This afternoon’s impro class was hilarious. Not sure what I learn, but I laughed a lot.

You will remember Shad warned us to remember everything. He reiterated that ominously on return from lunch.

We did mini-shows (4 groups of 3 and 4 players for 15 mins or so). He then named a scene randomly, and got us to do it again. They were never scenes from our own team. It was hilarious.

Apparently the teaching point was that we remember salient parts of scenes – the gestures, the outrageous offers. And Shad suggested that good improvising and using call backs were about having a good memory. It was fun, and the point probably could have been made more quickly. That said, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Then in the last half hour we moved heavy objects across the stage (imaginary fridges, pianos, bodies). If at any point we damaged the integrity of the object with our mime we had to restart. Fun, and quite exhausting. Shad says this was the exercise which moved him from acting to improvising as a profession.

This was a preliminary step in environment work which he says has 3 kinds of objects:
– generic objects which define the room – a toilet, a bed
– personal objects – specific to an individual – a Darth Vader shower head
– emotional trigger objects like a photo of Nana or your first dance recital

Tomorrow it will integrate!

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